Wisconsin Election Commission suggests government employees work at polls this November


Wisconsin’s Election Commission is suggesting local election managers look in the halls of government to find their poll workers for next month. The Commission’s Megan Wolfe on Monday sent a letter to Wisconsin’s nearly 2,000 local election clerks and commissions, suggesting government employees would make excellent poll workers in November.

“Any government employee who is eligible to serve as a poll worker will be allowed to do so without loss of fringe benefits or any other penalty for the entire 24-hour period of Election Day,” Wolfe wrote.

Wolfe included a breakdown in her letter.

  • State employees: Every state agency must permit their employees to serve as an election official.
  • Local government employees: Each local governmental agency may permit its employees to serve as an election official. Check into the availability of municipal and county employees. While chief inspectors must be qualified electors of the municipality, other election inspectors can come from anywhere in the county to serve at a polling location.
  • Local elected or appointed officials: For example, the municipal or deputy clerk, town board trustees, city alders and county board supervisors, may also work as an election inspector as long as they are not a candidate on the ballot.

Government workers in Wisconsin must give their boss a week’s notice before they can have the day off to work at the polls. Government workers also get paid for Election Day. Wolfe said if those government employees are paid for poll work, that will be deducted from their regular paycheck.

Wolfe’s poll worker recruitment letter also suggests that local election clerks and commissions look to charity or civic groups, and students as potential poll workers.

“Any pupil at least 16 years old with a 3.0 grade point average or the equivalent may serve as an election inspector at the polling place serving the pupil’s residence with the written approval of their parent or guardian,” Wolfe wrote. “Many college students in your area may be interested in working as a poll worker. Reaching out to local community colleges, universities, and technical schools is a good option to get poll workers, and you may be able to work with them to offer extra credit opportunities.”

Wolfe also suggested clerks reach out to teachers.

There is a need for poll workers in Wisconsin. The Election Commission has said in the past that they could be thousands of people short on Election Day. Many traditional poll workers are older or retired, Wolfe has said those people are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The Wisconsin National Guard provided over 2,400 troops to work at Wisconsin’s polls back in April. It’s not certain that the Guard will be able to provide the same number of troops come November.

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