More than one million Georgia residents have requested absentee ballots for the upcoming general election, and more than 1.5 million have already voted early in person. With local companies like Mailchimp and SalesLoft giving their employees election day off, and so many Georgians voting early or by mail, many are looking to use their extra time on November 3 to help others stay in line and exercise their right to vote.
Here are a few nonpartisan opportunities for staying busy on Election Day and helping those waiting in line to vote across metro Atlanta.
Become a poll worker (in Gwinnett County)
As many traditional poll workers are older, and therefore in the high-risk group for COVID-19, many were concerned that we might face a shortage of poll workers this year. But counties like Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb were overwhelmed with thousands of applications, and the spots quickly filled up. Gwinnett County, however, is still looking for poll workers, as long as you live within the county lines. You need to be at least 16 and a U.S. citizen, and it is paid.
Hand out snacks and water
During the June primary, as many voters stood in hours-long lines under the hot Atlanta sun at polling places, a few individuals mobilized to provide water and snacks to those in line for several hours, like the group #ProtestPizzaATL. Local nonprofit Feed the Revolution took sign-ups on Instagram, provided a pick-up location, and the volunteer could pick their snack loot to give away at a designated polling place.
For November 3, others are joining the food movement. Sign up to be part of the snack brigade with the Georgia 55 Project, founded by the four women behind #ProtestPizzaATL, and help with “line-warming,” the act of feeding, hydrating, and providing support to voters waiting in line to vote, according to their form. They’re partnering with over 30 local restaurants and food partners for their efforts, especially focusing on providing economic support to Black- and minority-owned businesses. You can sign up to organize supplies, drive supplies to specific hubs, or distribute supplies at a polling place to those waiting in line.
Podcaster and journalist King Williams has raised over $4,000 (and counting) to bring “Pizza to the Polls” across metro Atlanta, along with Georgia 55. The money raised will go to food, drinks, hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, flashlights, and portable chargers. He’s still recruiting volunteers to help out on the day of the election. You can sign up by sending him a message on Instagram.
Monitor at polling places
A poll monitor acts as a nonpartisan aid to ensure everyone gets a fair chance to cast their vote. You talk to voters in line as issues arise or if they need an interpreter. The Latino Community Fund is looking for bilingual Spanish speakers to be poll monitors in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Hall, and Cobb Counties. It is a paid opportunity at $20 an hour, and you can sign up for shifts here.
If you’re not bilingual, you can still sign up to be a volunteer poll monitor through legal nonprofit Advancing Justice Atlanta. Online training is scheduled on Thursdays and Saturdays. Masks, gloves, and signs are provided per shift, and if you sign up for two or more shifts, you’ll get paid $15 an hour.
Drive voters to the polls
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) is sending out 15-passenger vans as part of their Roll-to-the-Polls campaign across nine counties in metro Atlanta. Voters can request a free ride via their site or by calling 1-888-495-6222.
You can volunteer to drive one of those vans by signing up here. The vans will be fully stocked with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes to protect voters and drivers.
Have an IT background? Become a Field Service Technician
Unfortunately, Georgia voters are very familiar with technical issues at their polling places—broken machines, interrupted Wi-Fi, etc. Several metro Atlanta counties are looking for Election Day field service technicians (via the Metro Atlanta Chamber) to alleviate that during election day.
Put your IT background to work during a half-day training to learn the setup and operation of polling place voting equipment. You need experience using tables, computers, printers, and scanners. Then, you’ll attend your 15-hour shift on Election Day to support poll workers at your designated location. Total compensation for this position is $400.