Update – Critical Cleaning Supplies and Poll Workers – COVID-19 

Priority

High Priority

Date

To

Wisconsin County Clerks
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
Milwaukee County Election Commission

From

Meagan Wolfe, Administrator

Once again, I’d like to extend my sincere thank you to all Wisconsin clerks for all of their hard work and dedication to helping ensure the success of Wisconsin elections.  We recognize that you are going over and above what has been typically expected to adapt to all of the changes resulting from COVID-19.  Please know that your efforts are appreciated.  Wisconsin Elections Commission staff will continue to do our best to help aid clerks at both the county and municipal levels in providing as much support and information as possible.

This communication is to provide an update regarding critical cleaning supplies and poll worker support.

Election Day Supplies

The Wisconsin Elections Commission previously requested the support of county clerks to gather the quantity of critical polling place cleaning and sanitation supplies needed for both the August and November elections and submitted that order to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). 

Starting on Friday, July 24, 2020, WEC staff started working with the National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, and SEOC staff to deliver the first shipment of critical cleaning supplies to county clerk offices.  Due to a national shortage of some of the requested supplies, we made the decision to distribute the supplies that were already on hand at the warehouse.  Fortunately, we are in possession of the most critical supplies to ensure that surfaces and hands remain clean, and that poll workers have face masks to use on election day (poll workers are also permitted to bring their own personal face coverings, if preferred).  

What is being delivered now?

1.    Surface disinfectant (one or a combination of these)
o    Yahara Distillery
o    Twin Oxide 
o    State Line Distillery

2.    Hand Sanitizer
o    Liquid sanitizer
o    Gel sanitizer (limited supply – hopefully more coming soon)

3.    Face Coverings
o    Procedural masks

What supplies were ordered but have yet to be delivered?  

1.    Empty spray bottles for use with disinfecting solution
2.    Paper towels
3.    Disinfecting wipes such as Clorox wipes
4.    Hand sanitizer (normal gel based)
5.    Isopropyl wipes (for use on voting equipment/electronic polling devices)
6.    Gloves
7.    Pens (for those that requested)

The SEOC and DOA Procurement are doing their best to secure what was requested; however, due to overall nationwide supply shortages, the final distribution may look a slightly different than what was originally ordered.  We appreciate your continued flexibility and understanding.

As it relates to a second distribution of supplies, our staff will be in touch with the County Clerks as soon as we receive any additional information about delivery dates and logistics.  We recognize that as we get closer to election day, it may be more and more difficult to distribute the supplies from the counties to the municipalities and then again to the polling locations.  We encourage you to think what you might do in the event you do not, for example, receive isopropyl wipes.  We suggest looking into local sources to ensure your polling places have the supplies you want, or need, should the need arise to make last minute local purchases.

Poll Worker Support

We are requesting the assistance of the County Clerks again in our attempt to identifying critical needs for poll workers.  We have submitted a request for assistance to the SEOC to assist with poll worker recruitment (e.g., reaching out to other agencies and volunteer organizations to spread the word about the continuing need for poll workers).  We encourage municipalities to continue to solicit for poll workers with the help of press releases, local newsletters/message boards, social media, and other means by which they currently communicate with their communities.

WEC staff is attempting to identify municipalities that are experiencing critical shortages (e.g., very low numbers of poll workers that the polling place cannot effectively operate, or that the polling place may not open as a result of the shortages).  WEC staff has submitted a request for assistance with the SEOC for poll worker support, but we cannot guarantee that any resources will be provided to help staff polling places.  

Attached, please find a link to a survey to report critical poll worker shortages for municipalities.  Our hope is that counties will be able to assist in collecting needs assessments from their municipalities.  We acknowledge circumstances might change between now and as we get closer to the August election; however, the SEOC is 

requesting some preliminary numbers as soon as possible.  The original deadline was Friday, July 24 and we 
have yet to hear from a number of counties about the status of the poll worker situation (if you have already replied, there is no need to respond to the survey again).  WEC staff will be providing the numbers to SEOC on Thursday morning, July 30, 2020.

County clerks, please complete the surveys on behalf of your municipalities.

Survey Link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LY62J8W

Additional Information Requested Regarding Poll Worker Support

While we were fortunate to use Wisconsin National Guard Service Members as poll workers in both April and May, we cannot be guaranteed this resource will be available to us again in August and November.  It is imperative that clerks are doing all they can to recruit for new poll workers and to implement solid contingency planning should National Guard be an unavailable resource going into the fall election cycle.  

If a county or municipality has identified a need for poll worker support, we request that you provide us with some additional information about:

•    What efforts have been made by impacted municipalities to recruit for poll workers?
•    Should the National Guard not be an available resource for poll worker support, what will you do to ensure that all polling place locations are open on election day?

This information will be used to show what efforts have been taken to recruit poll workers as all other options and efforts must first be exhausted before other support avenues can be utilized, including the activation of the National Guard.  If you have indicated a serious or critical need for poll workers, you must also provide additional information about that need, such as your contingency plan in the event other resources are not available. To provide a way to submit this information to us easily, we have created another survey to gather this information:

Survey Link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HGBQRPR

Thank you for your continued dedication in support of Wisconsin elections, especially during these difficult times.  We could not do it without your assistance and support.  Should you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office at [email protected] or 608-266-8005.