From the YLD President, 0221 GABJ, GSB Vol. 26, No. 4, Pg. 10

AuthorBERT HUMMEL, YLD President State Bar of Georgia
PositionVol. 26 4 Pg. 10

From the YLD President

Vol. 26 No. 4 Pg. 10

Georgia Bar Journal

February, 2021

YLD Poll Worker Program Addresses Critical Need

BERT HUMMEL, YLD President State Bar of Georgia

Last August, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia election officials were putting out the word that more than 20,000 poll workers would be needed statewide before the General Election to help avoid a repeat of Georgia’s primary in June, when voters in some packed precincts waited for hours to cast their ballots, despite a turnout of fewer than 1.2 million voters—a fraction of the anticipated November turnout.

For the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia, this became a call to action and a prime demonstration of our commitment to the YLD theme for this year, #PurposeThroughService. That social media hashtag is more than just a slogan; it has already been connected with some new and worthy initiatives to engage YLD members in service during the first half of this Bar year. In fact, the YLD’s officers, directors and committee chairs have been trailblazers in originating programs that meet the needs of today’s changing environment.

We launched the inaugural Poll Worker Program to address the need for additional poll workers in light of a growing electorate, new voting technology and a decrease in the number of experienced poll workers due to COVID-19 concerns. The program offered continuing legal education credit to volunteer lawyers who met certain criteria and added a touch of confidence to polling precincts by having an officer of the court assisting in the election process.

In the November 2020 presidential election, just short of 5 million Georgians voted at approximately 2,600 polling places. Nearly 4.5 million Georgians returned to the polls in January for the historic runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats.

“Having enough poll workers is key to ensuring everyone who is eligible to vote has the opportunity to exercise that right on Election Day,” says the Secretary of State’s Office. “Since the average age of Georgia’s poll workers is in the high-risk age group for COVID-19, poll worker recruitment has become increasingly difficult for many counties.” With record-breaking turnout and continued challenges related to COVID-19, the need for Georgians to step up and serve as poll workers was greater in the 2020 election cycle than ever...

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