Wisconsin clerks are reporting they are about 900 poll workers short for the Aug. 11 primary election, the state elections commission said Tuesday.
And officials said they might need the Wisconsin National Guard to plug the gap.
“We know there are Wisconsinites looking for ways to serve their communities through this difficult time,” Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, said in a statement.
“If you are a state, county or municipal employee, a teacher, a student or someone who is looking for temporary work, municipal clerks need you to step up and help right now.”
There are requests for poll workers in municipalities in more than 40 of the state’s 72 counties.
Among the cities facing big shortages — Appleton (60 poll workers), Green Bay (50), Oshkosh (50) and Racine (40).
Eighty-six poll workers are needed in Milwaukee County, including 20 in Wauwatosa and 18 in Franklin.
Municipalities in Ozaukee County are looking for 12 poll workers, while in Waukesha County around 80 are needed. Washington County municipalities report they have enough poll workers.
Wolfe said the Wisconsin Elections Commission is working with the Wisconsin National Guard to provide personnel. Gov. Tony Evers would have to officially activate the National Guard for soldiers and airmen to serve as poll workers.
The National Guard was used at the polls in April.
“We know and appreciate that the National Guard is working on our request, but there is no guarantee they will be able to provide all or even some of the personnel clerks need,” Wolfe said. “We understand the Guard is needed for other critical missions as our state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A typical August primary requires between 25,000 and 30,000 poll workers. The pandemic has caused a shortage of poll workers. Many are in their 60s, 70s and 80s and have health conditions, Wolfe said.
Anyone who is interested in working should contact their municipal clerk’s office or visit the MyVote Wisconsin website.