Local governments consolidate polling locations due to coronavirus

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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY)- As we've reported many municipalities are struggling to find poll workers as the coronavirus continues to spread and have had to consolidate polling places.

  • Village of Little Chute: All voting moved to the Civic Center, 625 Grand Ave.
  • City of Menasha: Districts 1-4 at Boys & Girls Club, 600 Racine St.; District 6 at Jefferson School, 105 Ice St.; Districts 5, 7 & 8 at Winnegamie Dog Club, 2043 Manitowoc Rd.
  • Village of Suamico: Moved all voting at the Municipal Services Center, 12781 Velp Ave.

The City of De Pere says it, too, will be consolidating polling places. There will be two polling places -- one on each side of the Fox River.

The De Pere Community Center, 600 Grant St., will be open for those who live on the west side of the city, then Saint Francis Xavier Parish Community Center at Notre Dame Middle School, 220 S. Michigan St., will be used for those living on the east side.

In a major shift to consolidate polling locations every resident in Neenah will now vote under one roof next Tuesday. All six of the city's polling places will be consolidated and everyone will now vote at the former Shopko store at 699 S. Green Bay Road.

Mayor Dean Kaufert says the former Shopko site was selected because of concerns over a lack of poll workers.

"What's important to note is this is not one polling place -- this is going to be six individual polling places, but it's large enough to all be under one roof," added Kaufert.

The 90,000 square foot site is expected to allow for plenty of space to keep even a larger crowd socially distant.

As well, signs will go up to remind people to take the precaution of physical distance.

Neenah Council President and Election Task Force Chair Todd Stevenson said, "We've had some people since the announcement came out who indicated they're concerned they will be exposed to more people. Well, there's going to be more people in this room, but the space available to that individual polling place is going to be exponentially higher."

Previous polling places included the police and fire station, plus a church which had concerns over hosting the event because of the coronavirus.

The mayor says if the election can't be postponed, this is the best way to conduct it.

"We're going to make it as safe as possible for people to come out and vote that day, even though everyone is telling them to say home. Everyone is telling them not to leave their house, Safer at Home, shelter in place, all of those types of things. If the election goes through, at least here in Neenah they're going to have a little more comfort that it's a safe place," said Kaufert.

The city will also request help from the National Guard to provide assistance with security and enforcing social distancing measures.