Green Bay in need of poll workers, polling locations for fall elections

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 9:20 PM CDT
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On Friday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) announced local municipalities will be able to take advantage of a $4.1 million block grant program to help prepare for the fall elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Green Bay Mayor, Eric Genrich says the city will receive about $50,000.

“We can certainly put that to use, buying additional PPE for our poll workers and making sure the process is as safe as possible,” said Grenrich.

The money can also be spent on unbudgeted expenses for the fall elections like postage and envelopes for absentee ballots.

Right now city leaders are working to secure more poll workers.

“We need poll workers. We are short 200 poll workers,” said city council member Barb Dorff. She helped start the city’s Ad Hoc Committee on Elections. The committee is tasked with helping the clerk’s office organize the fall elections.

“We are going to need extra helpers, extra workers at the polls. We're going to need to make sure there's social distancing. Our poll workers need to be protected,” said Dorff. “We will use every penny of that money. The city doesn't have any extra money right now. I'm very grateful that we will be getting at least something from the state.”

Dorff says about 44,000 Green Bay citizens voted in the 2016 November presidential election; of those, about 28,000 showed up in person.

Another challenge the committee is facing is finding polling locations.

The city normally has 31, but so far has only secured 14 locations for the fall.

“Some sites just don't want to have voting going on in them; they're still trying to figure out social distancing,” said Dorff.

The last minute fallout of poll workers led to long lines and condensed polling places in April.

Now, city leaders are urging people to vote early or via absentee ballot.

WEC says nearly 1.16 million ballots were cast by mail in April.

WEC will be sending an informational mailing this summer to about 2.7 million registered voters explaining voting options.

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