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Poll workers still needed for November election

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) - More than 3.6 million Wisconsinites are registered to vote in November’s presidential election, which could mean lots of people will head to the polls in two and a half weeks.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says 30,000 poll workers are needed statewide to help for the Nov. 3 election.

As of Thursday, a handful of cities, villages, and towns are still in need of people to fill those positions.

“It’s not enough for clerks to just have enough poll workers, they also need a backup pool of people that they can call upon in the events of an emergency, in the event that somebody is ill or unable to serve on election day. They need to have a pool of people they can call in those emergencies to serve as well,” explained WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe.

According to the WEC, more than 50 municipalities have a critical or serious need for poll workers.

The city of Menomonie just reached the minimum number of poll workers, 90, to open all its polling locations.

City Clerk Cally Lauersdorf says ideally, though, the city would have around 110 poll workers.

“We pay ten dollars an hour, if you’re looking for something to do to get out of the house and you’ve been thinking about working the elections, this is one that’s going to be probably a lot of excitement throughout the day, you’re not going to be bored,” she said.

Currently statewide, 180 poll workers are needed at various municipalities to meet minimum requirements.

However, that number two and a half weeks out from the election is smaller than the election in August when the state was 700 poll workers short.

“It certainly shows that we’ve come a long way this year, right, in terms our the need for poll workers that we are seeing people volunteer to be poll workers and I think that’s wonderful news,” said Wolfe.

The top priorities for clerks this election, making sure every vote counts and making sure everyone at the polls, including workers, stays safe.

“The floors will be marked off, six feet apart socially distance voters. We have Plexiglas shields that we built for the April election we’ve been using all year that separates the voters from the workers working the poll books,” said Lauersdorf.

To be a poll worker in Wisconsin, you must be fluent in English, not be on the ballot at the polling place you work, and live in the county where you are serving as a poll worker.

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