ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - If you voted in person during Tuesday's spring election, you might not have noticed troops from the Wisconsin National Guard helping staff polling sites.
More than 2,400 citizen soldiers, airmen and airwomen have been mobilized to supplement volunteer workers across the state. Captain Joe Trovato is a spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard and said troops are operating in 71 of the 72 counties in the Badger State.
“This is not necessarily a role that you would traditionally think of the national guard fulfilling and it is fairly unprecedented,” Trovato said. “You wont really notice us there other than we may have a little shorter haircut than the typical person, because our service members are supporting the polls in civilian clothes, they are not in uniform at the polls today.”
Trovato said the National Guard is helping the Wisconsin Elections Commission, by having troops work the polls.
“They're serving the exact same role as a traditional pole worker volunteer would. That's everything from checking people in, registering voters, helping with ballots and things like that,” he said. “Really it runs the gamut of what you would see a traditional poll worker do.”
Trovato said this is an unusual mission for the National Guard.
“We think this might be the first time in our nations history where the national guard is doing something like this, certainly the first time in Wisconsin.”
He said troops are ready and willing to uphold the Constitution and ensure every American can do their civic duty.
“They live and work in many of the same communities as you and they hold civilian jobs during the week and then put on the uniform and answer the state's call and the nation's call when they are needed,” Trovato said. “They are farmers, bankers, small business owners, teachers, nurses, whatever the case may be.”
Trovato said being able to serve Wisconsinites is extremely important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While this situation is unique and unprecedented, serving our state is not something we are strangers to by any means,” he said.