Op Ed

Should Elected Officials Work the Polls?

Legally those not up for election can. And given the shortage of poll workers, their help is needed.

By - Apr 3rd, 2020 04:47 pm
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Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

There continues to be much conversation and legal maneuvers regarding Wisconsin’s Spring Election, on April 7th. A reader sent me the following letter that was submitted to state officials with a most pertinent question, and idea.

While I have taken a strong position that the election must proceed for the sake of democracy, and the importance of having voters weigh in at the appointed time, there is also a belief at this blogging desk a correct decision was made to have the National Guard assist next Tuesday. And the following idea from the letter writer has great merit, too.

Gentlemen:

Thank you for what you are doing to insure everyone has an opportunity to vote.  I have been an election official since the early 1980s. And, as a legislative aide, I was involved in election law, during the 1980s and 1990s, including making it easier for people to get off work to be poll workers.

As you know,  many of my fellow election officials (poll workers) have decided not to work at the April 7th election. That is largely due to many, like myself,  being in high risk groups for the Coronavirus. As I recently wrote to a few newspapers, given the critical need for election officials on April 7th, it would be a good time for our elected officials to show some real leadership and serve as election officials! While a candidate on the ballot can not be an election official, in this election, our State’s mayors, county executives, county supervisors and alderpersons and members of our State Legislature who are not candidates on the April 7th ballot are eligible to work at this election. And, for those who have never served as election officials, it would be a great time for them to learn first hand how our democratic process works! (And, for legislators, especially Republicans, to experience the cumbersome and redundant process they have created in the last decade. Procedures that really do nothing to stop alleged rampant voter fraud.) Hopefully, some of our local elected officials will join us longtime election officials on April 7th when we desperately need their help. Perhaps, you can encourage them to do so.

A good example of a “newer” rule, is having electors sign a pollbook, a process that will probably never prevent voter fraud. But,in this election, having electors sign a pollbook may unnecessarily spread the coronavirus!  Could an executive order or emergency rule by the Elections Commission set aside this requirement on April 7th to protect the public health? Otherwise, every elector at each polling place will be touching the pollbook, which can not be wiped down! The poll book will be a petri dish for everyone to leave and collect germs! Eliminating the requirement to sign a poll book would greatly reduce the chance of the virus being spread at polling places on election day.

Daniel A. Young

Madison, WI

Gregory Humphrey writes for the Caffeinated Politics blog.

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Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

One thought on “Op Ed: Should Elected Officials Work the Polls?”

  1. mkwagner says:

    As reasonable as this suggestion is, unfortunately, too many of our elected officials will neither step up nor will the current Republican leadership relent and allow safer voting procedures. It is far more important that Republicans maintain their vise hold on state government than it is to protect the health and safety of our citizens.

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