Alyssa Van Duyse donned protective gear, including an N95 mask, to be a polling place worker in Chippewa Falls during the spring election. She is working Election Day, too. Many cities were short election poll workers in April, including Green Bay. (Contributed photo )
Alyssa Van Duyse donned protective gear, including an N95 mask, to be a polling place worker in Chippewa Falls during the spring election. She is working Election Day, too. Many cities were short election poll workers in April, including Green Bay. (Contributed photo )

Genrich not sure where the shortage narrative started. Current concern centers on disruptive voters.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich said he doesn’t know where the rumor that the city has the greatest shortage of poll workers in the state came from, especially since, as of Friday, they have more than they need.

“There’s been some misreporting on that,” Genrich said. “We have a good number of poll workers recruited.”

The city estimated that it would need at least 380 poll workers for the Nov. 3 election. As of Friday, 552 people had been brought onboard, though the city is continuing to take applications in case some of those individuals change their minds right before Election Day.

“We’re in a good place,” Genrich said.

Last April, the city had a severe shortage of poll workers but recruitment efforts were ramped up leading into the fall. Over 200 people were recruited during a tele-town hall on Oct. 1 according to NCB 26.

Over 700 people cast in-person absentee ballots on Tuesday and another 600 on Wednesday. Combined with mailed-in absentee ballots, Genrich said 37% of registered voters have already filed their ballots, which is also 46% of total votes cast in 2016. 

Because of the high rate of absentee voting, Genrich said the city doesn’t expect “a lot of congestion” on Nov. 3.

However, there are other concerns about Election Day. In anticipation of a stressful, contentious election, the Green Bay Police Department plans to train poll workers in de-escalation techniques. Lieutenant Chad Ramos based the two-hour presentation on what the department teaches city employees.

“The thought came that, okay, we have an election coming up. There’s a feeling that it’s somewhat contentious and some emotions are high with everything,” Ramos told NBC 26. “Might we benefit from giving some sort of a training to our poll workers as well to better equip them to potentially deal with maybe the problem person or a difficult situation or just to be better at what they got to do that day?”  

Also, since Wisconsin does not allow municipalities to start processing absentee ballots until Election Day, it could be a long night for election workers. But Genrich said he’s confident they will have results ready by early morning on Nov. 4.