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After struggling to find poll workers, Green Bay has enough workers for Election Day but is still in need of alternatives

Poll Workers
Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 01, 2022

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The April 5th spring election is less than a week a way. But up until recently, the city of Green Bay didn't have enough poll workers to cover all of its wards. While City Clerk Celestine Jeffreys says the city now has enough workers to cover Election Day, the city is still in need of alternatives.

“We are still taking applications because things come up, poll workers have personal commitments and so we definitely still need some people to apply," Jeffreys said.

Alternatives will be called in to work on Election Day if a poll worker is unable to work their shift. Jeffreys says the city still needs about a dozen to a dozen and a half alternatives in order to be in a comfortable position come Tuesday.

Jeffreys says there are a number of factors that have caused the city's pool of poll workers to decrease in recent months. One factor is redistricting, which shuffled the wards, causing poll workers to move to different polling locations with unfamiliar faces. In addition, the pandemic and the workers shortage have also made finding new poll workers especially difficult for the clerk's office.

Another factor, Jeffreys says, is the tension surrounding recent elections.

“I think some of the tone around the election has dissuaded people from serving," Jeffreys said. "They have not used the word harassed with me but the way they describe some interactions have been, I would say, emotionally negative.”

She says the city is providing training for poll workers and working with the Green Bay Police Department to provide security on Election Day.

“We provide training to our poll workers on how to deescalate. We are always in partnership with our police department but especially on election issues," Jeffreys said. "They are aware and are ready to be there should they need to be there.”

Additionally, the city recently passed an ordinance requiring five workers at each polling place instead of three. Jeffreys says the decision did not come out of concern for election integrity and did not affect the city's shortage of poll workers.

Jeffreys is encouraging all eligible Brown County residents to apply to become a poll worker.

“We need the workers to help people vote and make those elections count,” Jeffreys said.

To apply, you can visit greenbaywi.gov/elections or call 920-448-3010.