City of Madison navigates through record number of absentee ballots and poll worker shortage

NBC15 looks into what the City of Madison is doing to account for a record number absentee...
NBC15 looks into what the City of Madison is doing to account for a record number absentee ballots and a poll worker shortage.(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 5:57 PM CDT
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Currently, the Primary Election for April 7 is going on as scheduled. However, concerns remain about a shortage of poll workers and an influx of absentee ballots to sort across the state.

There are currently 111 polling locations in critical need of workers, including four in Dane County, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

"Because we worry about folks who have second thoughts on Election Day who would be in a high risk category," Madison Deputy Clerk Jim Verbick said.

Those high risk workers could include people over the age of 60, or anyone with pre-existing conditions that give them a higher chance of catching COVID-19.

Chief poll worker George Dreckmann is one of those people.

"I'm 69-years-old and I have a chronic immune system disease, and as things went along, I didn't think it was going to be safe for me to work at the polls," Dreckmann said.

He's opting out of his in-person duties on April 7, but Dreckmann is still helping the City Clerk’s Office collect absentee ballots.

Dreckmann collects

locations around Madison and takes them to the City Clerk’s Office to be processed.

“One of the libraries looked like the McDonald’s drive through, there were so many cars waiting to just drop their ballots off," Verbick said.

If the election goes on as planned on Tuesday, the Madison City Clerk's Office said it will keep the voting areas sanitized; that includes cleaning pens between uses. A donation of face shields was also made to those people working with curb side voting.

To apply for a position as a poll worker or election official,