How to become poll worker for 2020 election

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– The Macon-Bibb Board of Elections is encouraging people to be trained on how to monitor polling locations ahead of the election next month.

Tom Gillon, an election officer for Macon-Bibb, says becoming a poll worker is simple.

“We try to make it easy, it’s required that we have poll worker training,” Gillon said. “We prefer to have everyone that’s working at the same polling location come to the same training class, but we’re flexible on that.”

Poll workers learn the basics, like how and where people can cast their ballot, and what kind of ballot each person needs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and a new law have created a few changes.

“Everyone has to provide a photo ID to vote,” Gillon stated. “Now we have to accept the fact that we can’t see people in general because they tend to be wearing masks so with the photo ID and we have to handle that differently.”

Gillon says poll workers will not ask people to remove their masks to check for identification. Workers will be provided with masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing tools to keep everyone at their voting location safe.

Despite the new protocols, first-time poll worker Keturah Haynes, says she looks forward to working during the election.

“With everything going on and who’s running… it just seemed very important,” Haynes said. “I can encourage my friends to come out and vote and I can see them there.”

James Vandiver, a veteran poll worker, believes helping people vote is a privilege.

“If you don’t vote, if you don’t use your voice, you’re saying I don’t care,” Vandiver stated. “I think that that’s what really burns inside of me to be a poll officer this year.”

If you’re interested in becoming a poll worker, go to your local Board of Elections office and fill out an application. The Macon-Bibb Board of Election office also has an online application too.

Training sessions for the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections is everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. October 5-9.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.