Coronavirus to blame for shortage of poll workers during spring election

Early voting for the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary kicked off Monday in Bay County. (MGN)
Early voting for the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary kicked off Monday in Bay County. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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With the governor saying that the April 7th spring election won't be delayed, local clerks are expressing concern that poll workers will be hard to find.

The thought of hundreds of people potentially standing in line to vote could be a reality, which is why some poll workers, many of which are senior citizens are now deciding to sit this election out.

Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert said,"We have needs for about 52 poll workers on that day with the polling places and also the central count area which is where we do the absentee ballots. I've been just told by my staff about 21 poll workers have said they prefer not to work."

Kaufert says many who canceled, have concerns over the coronavirus, whether it's their health or a spouse who might be susceptible.

In Fond du Lac County, the clerk told us changes will be made to keep those working the polls as safe as possible.

"I suggested that a lot of times they just have one table where the voter comes up and states their name and address and shows their picture ID. I said, let's start thinking about having two tables away from each other," said Fond du Lac County Clerk Lisa Freiberg.

Thru social media Waupaca County has also posted a plea for poll workers and many clerks are encouraging college students or workers who have been laid off to apply.

If possible, voters are being encouraged to cast their ballot absentee.

Kaufert added, "At the same time the message coming out of Madison, coming out of lawmakers and the governor is you're safer at home, we shouldn't be going out but at the same time we're saying it's okay to go vote, stand in line with a hundred other people and make sure you cast your vote."

To be a poll worker you need to be at least 18 years of age and reside in the county that you're working in.

As a benefit you do get paid and fed.