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Wisconsin National Guard to again help staff polls due to shortage of workers

MADISON — About 250 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be activated to help work the polls in Tuesday’s special election in northern Wisconsin’s sprawling 7th Congressional District due to a shortage of traditional poll workers.

The Guard’s activation in the upcoming special election follows the April statewide presidential primary and spring election where more than 2,400 Guard members helped staff the polls.

There are about 700 municipalities in the district, most of those being towns with just one polling location, said Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney. The commission is expecting about 125 Guard members to be used at the polls, with another 125 in support roles or dispatched to armories to be used as needed, he said.

Clerks have all the sanitation and personal protective equipment they need and have undergone training to be ready, Magney said.

There were long lines of voters in Milwaukee during last month’s election due to a consolidation of polling places from nearly 200 to just five. No significant consolidations on par with what happened in Milwaukee were planned in the mostly rural 7th Congressional District, Magney said.

Brig. Gen. Robyn Blader said in a statement Friday that Guard members will be in civilian clothing and work in areas where they live and perform the same functions as other poll workers. They will be trained starting Sunday.

The election to replace retired U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy pits Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany against Democrat Tricia Zunker.

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