Voting Rights Advocates Call on Georgia Counties to Prioritize COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness Plans
ATLANTA — All Voting is Local Georgia, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and Fair Fight Action, urged all county commissioners in Georgia to work with county elections officials to draft and publicly release COVID-19 preparedness plans.
In their letter, advocates write: “The importance of election contingency planning is especially urgent this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected the elderly, lower-income residents, and communities of color.”
The letter calls on officials to address the following emergency scenarios and COVID-19 related issues:
- Create procedures to ensure that voting continues if employees in the elections office, poll workers, or other officials are diagnosed with COVID-19 or display symptoms of COVID-19.
- Develop emergency communications plans, including contact information for key staff, local emergency management agencies, law enforcement, fire, medical services, utility providers, election equipment vendors, and others.
- Enact procedures for notifying the public about polling place changes.
- Establish procedures to deal with power outages at polling places including access to back-up power sources, such as generators.
- Create polling place relocation instructions and lists of alternative polling locations.
- Issue guidelines for managing poll worker shortages, including designating and contacting alternate poll workers.
- Reduce the spread of COVID-19 on Election Day and during early voting by requiring all voters and poll workers to follow the most-up-to-date guidance from the CDC, including wearing face coverings, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance, and consistent cleaning and hand washing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The letter is available here.