How Municipalities Can Help Nearby Communities with Poll Worker Shortages


Timely Attention Required



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


Meagan Wolfe, Administrator

Many clerks reached out to the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicating that they have more than enough poll workers to staff their polling place(s). It is great that many communities are able to step up to ensure safe, fair, and accurate elections in Wisconsin. However, many communities are still struggling to fill critical poll worker shortages. It is crucial that we all step up to help our communities during these times. Here are some ways you can assist your neighboring municipalities to fill those vacancies:

1. Never turn a poll worker away. If you do not have any openings and you are beginning to turn residents away, please consider sending them to a neighboring municipality with shortages. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has a database with critical shortages here:, but you may want to consider contacting your county or clerks from nearby municipalities to see if you could refer these residents to them.

2. Consider referring your back-up pool. If you are still taking names for a back-up poll list (The WEC recommends 1 back-up poll worker per every 5 poll workers), consider referring those individuals to neighboring municipalities who do not currently have enough poll workers to open their polling place. These could serve as a last resort for the nearby municipality.

3. If you have a surplus of hired poll workers, consider referring them to a neighboring municipality. If you have enough poll workers to staff your polling place and even a few extra to help manage lines or sanitize the polling place, please consider working with a nearby municipality to help them get enough poll workers to open their polling place. You could having some of your poll workers doing a split shift between your municipality and their municipality (offering up your poll worker for half a day), or offering up extra poll workers as a back-up in case they are unable to open on Election Day.

4. If you are able, consider helping nearby municipalities with poll worker recruitment efforts. Please consider offering up additional recruitment help to neighboring municipalities, such as using the strategies here: These include offering up non-essential members of your municipal office and working with local organizations to help recruit poll workers.

These partnerships are crucial right now. We truly appreciate your assistance and your sense of community to make sure that all of Wisconsin’s polling places open on time, accessible, safe, and run smoothly. We are confident that if we all pull together, we will all be able to make this Election Day a success.

Update 10/13/2020: A previous version of the memo stated the county residency requirement was waived from Judge Conley's decision, which has now been stayed by the courts as of 10/9. Election inspectors must serve within the county they reside within.