Georgia NAACP Branches Seek Volunteers for Final Election Push
ATLANTA – A coalition of Georgia NAACP branches that stretch from Savannah to Augusta to Columbus to Atlanta are sending out a call for volunteers to help with their efforts to increase black voter turnout in advance of the state’s Jan. 6 elections, which will decide control of the U.S. Senate..
Branches in Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Dougherty, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, Muscogee, Newton, Paulding, Richmond and Rockdale counties are asking for volunteers for a variety of tasks, including calling and texting prospective voters, voter registration and other efforts to get African Americans to the polls.
The NAACP branches have been working with numerous organizations – the Urban League, black sororities and fraternities, the Masons, churches and Georgia First – in a strategy to increase voter turnout by focusing on 19 Georgia counties that represent 77 percent of the state’s African-American population.
“Right now, it is all hands on deck,” said Richard Rose, president of the Atlanta branch, which is spearheading the efforts. “We need as many people as we can get in all our counties to help. We made a historical leap in November, but now we need to finish the job.
Rose noted most of the volunteer efforts, such as telephoning and texting voters, can be done from volunteers’ homes. The Atlanta NAACP is registering voters daily at MARTA locations and Walmart stores, Rose said.
The NAACP in Augusta is focusing on getting absentee ballot applications to elderly residents living in the city’s numerous senior living apartment complexes, said branch President the Rev. Melvin Ivey. pastor of St. John Baptist Church. Ivey said he and other pastors have also been telling their church members to request absentee ballots.
“We are trying to work every angle we can to get all of the votes out,” he said. “We have four drop off locations, and we have promised that we’ll drop off ballots for people. So, we can use all the help we can get.”
Cobb County, which Nov. 6 voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in decades, is holding voter registration on weekends at the county’s three Walmart locations, branch President Jeriene Grimes said.
“We need volunteers to help with registration and we plan to do a lot of contactless canvassing,” Grimes said. “People will be placing what we call ‘door hangers’ on the doorknobs of apartments and homes that remind people to vote. “
In Macon, Bibb County NAACP Branch President Gwendolyn Westbrook said her staff and volunteers are undergoing training on robocalling and how to do mass texting.
“We’re adding those skills to all the other things we will be doing,” Westbrook said. “So, we are definitely need voluntee