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News | Aug. 6, 2020

Wisconsin National Guard to support Aug. 11 election

By Wisconsin National Guard

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin National Guard will assist local election officials as poll workers for the Aug. 11 primary elections across Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday.

The Guard is needed due to a critical shortage of poll workers stemming from concerns over COVID-19. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard reside in all 72 Wisconsin counties and will serve in the county in which they reside. They will wear civilian clothes and perform the same roles and functions as other volunteers who traditionally staff the state’s polling sites.

People interested in serving as poll workers are encouraged to apply by contacting their municipal clerk’s office or visiting the MyVote Wisconsin website.

“The Wisconsin National Guard has played a critical role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and this mission is no different,” said Evers. “Time and time again, the Guard has stepped up to help their neighbors, friends, and communities, as they will be doing on Election Day by helping to ensure that every Wisconsinite can vote safely without fear for their health.”

The Guard is working with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to determine how many Guard members will be available to help local elections officials.

The troops will report to duty Sunday to train and begin receiving assignments. They’ll report to clerks Monday to receive site-specific training and assist with polling place setup, before fulfilling the role of traditional poll workers on Tuesday during the election. The troops will be released from duty Aug. 12.

“We’re working in close collaboration and partnership with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to anticipate needs in each county,” said Brig. Gen. Robyn Blader, Wisconsin’s assistant adjutant for readiness and training and the Guard’s liaison with the elections commission. “This is truly neighbors helping neighbors because these Guard members will be serving in their own home communities across the state. As Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen, we’re honored to fulfill this role and to help our state during a time of need.”

The Wisconsin National Guard also worked in collaboration with the Civil Air Patrol and the Wisconsin Elections Commission in recent weeks to ship supplies of hand sanitizer, wipes, spray bottles, and personal protective equipment to each county to help ensure safe and sanitary polling sites.

The Wisconsin National Guard has played a key role in Wisconsin’s last two elections. During the general election April 7, more than 2,400 Guard members supported 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. During the May 11 special election in the state’s 7th Congressional District, another 160 served as poll workers.

The elections support has come amid the largest sustained mobilization for domestic support in the state’s history. More than 1,000 Wisconsin National Guard members continue to support the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin Guard simultaneously mobilized troops to assist civil authorities during civil disturbances in May and June in several Wisconsin cities.

Hundreds of Wisconsin National Guard troops also are deployed across the globe to places like Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa in support of the Guard’s federal mission as the primary combat reserve of the Army and Air Force.