More poll workers are needed for Election Day in Wisconsin. Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections administrator, said that’s in part because of the large number of absentee ballots that will need to be processed at polling places.
“So you’re running that in person process, but you’re also processing all those absentee ballots, because processing those can’t start until the polls open at 7:00 AM on Election Day,” Wolfe said during a media conference call on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of absentee ballots have already been returned to clerks offices across Wisconsin, as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic have lead many voters to chose that option to vote.
Wolfe says a normal election requires some 30 thousand poll workers to function smoothly, and this year will undoubtedly require more.
“In each city, town and village they’re recruiting those poll workers. They’re figuring out who’s going to able to serve and where they still have needs. And so they’ve told us in the last few weeks that it was too soon for them to know for sure. But we’re now asking them to really tighten up those calculations and provide us with any reports of needs.”
Data released Friday by Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with the Voter Protection Corps, identifies 485 counties across eight states, including Wisconsin, that are at high risk for poll worker shortages.
Wolfe said that while many localities have enough workers, others, especially in rural Wisconsin, do not. The state Elections Commission hopes to have a clearer assessment of those needs, soon.
“I would encourage anybody to reach out to your local election official if it’s something you’re willing to do,” she said.