Gov. Evers announces 400 Wisconsin National Guard troops to work polls

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    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — About 400 Wisconsin National Guard troops will be activated to make up for any shortages at polling stations on Election Day as coronavirus cases surge in the presidential battleground state, Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday.

    There is currently a shortage of about 200 poll workers out of the roughly 30,000 who will be staffing the polls on Tuesday, said Wisconsin Elections Commission leader Meagan Wolfe. She said that small of a gap was “fantastic news” and reflects the hard work of local officials to solicit volunteers and backups.

    “We don’t have these reports of large, known shortages right now,” Wolfe said. She said she also hadn’t heard any reports of any local election leaders becoming sick with COVID-19 and being unable to staff the polls on Election Day.

    Guard troops will be kept on reserve and called upon to fill shortages as needed, she said. They will work in their local communities and not be in uniform, she said.

    The number of Guard troops who may be used in Tuesday’s election is far fewer than during the two other statewide elections in Wisconsin earlier this year. More than 2,400 troops were called up for the April presidential primary and nearly 700 were called up for the August primary for other races, including Congress and state Legislature.

    The troops will report to duty on Sunday for necessary training and to receive their assignments. Their duty will end the day after the election, Evers said.