Wisconsin still needs poll workers ahead of November election

Posted at 11:47 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 00:47:53-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- The Wisconsin Elections Commission says that many municipalities across Wisconsin are short the number of poll workers needed to properly staff polls this November.

As of Thursday, the city of Green Bay was short 118 election inspectors for November 3. Green Bay's poll workers will be paid $375 for training and Election Day work this year. The mayor's office said they had 307 of a desired 425 workers, a higher total needed than in past election years because of the pandemic.

"Many of our jurisdictions still need poll workers," Meagan Wolfe, administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Collections said. "There's more than 30,000 poll workers that are needed to run a general election, and in many ways, I think that number could even increase here in November of 2020 just because of the volume of absentees paired with the number of people that could show up on election day."

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has pushed clerks and municipals to raise their poll worker numbers to accommodate for an influx of absentee ballots as well as the possibility that confirmed poll workers fall to coronavirus in the next month.

"That's 120,000 that had been issued at this point versus the 1.2 million that we're seeing at this point, so quite a difference there," Wolfe said, comparing this date in 2016 to today in 2020.

To recruit poll workers locally, Mayor Genrich participated in a tele-town hall sponsored by Wisconsin Voices, All Voting is Local, VoteSafe, Coalition of Voting Organizations of Brown County, When We All Vote, League of Women Voters WI- Green Bay, COMSA- Green Bay, CASA Alba, Wisconsin Faith Leaders for Justice, League of Conservation Voters and A Better Wisconsin Institute and national group Power the Polls.

"We've got the PPE in place here, we ordered a bunch of equipment, high speed tabulators and laptops and all kinds of things, to make sure we can have a successful election in November," Mayor Genrich said on the call.

After the tele-town hall which included a Q&A portion from the public with questions about navigating election participation during the pandemic, the mayor's office said over 200 volunteers offer to be poll workers during the 35-minute event.