Clerks, poll workers ask to be vaccinated before Spring Election

MADISON, Wis.– People only see poll workers when voting a few times each year. So, it’s easy to forget they’re essential workers.

That’s why clerks across Wisconsin are asking to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court made it clear last April, elections don’t stop for anything, even COVID-19.

“It’s really something we can’t get out of,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said. “There has to be in-person voting.”

McDonell worked four elections during the pandemic, plus the November recount.

“I had hundreds of people in a room for nine days, 14-hour days,” McDonell said.

That’s why he signed his support to vaccinate all election staff next, from clerks to poll workers, before the spring election.

“I’m not saying we’re more important than anyone else, but in terms of an election and a pandemic, we are on the frontlines of both,” Chris Astrella said.

The Town of Oakland Clerk explained that the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association is asking to be considered essential workers, even forming a resolution that many municipalities across the state are adopting.

“It’s important to make sure everyone who wants to get vaccinated has the ability to do so, and as of today, that ability isn’t there for us,” Astrella said.

That resolution might not be enough to change DHS’s vaccination plans, but Astrella said it’s worth fighting for.

“It doesn’t matter what you’re advocating for, but you got to start somewhere,” Astrella said.

McDonell said every other profession in group 1B deserves to be prioritized and doesn’t want to take that away, but as the state receives more vaccines, their place in line should be reconsidered.

“People have been raising their hands, risking their lives for our democracy,” McDonell said. “How many times are we going to ask them to do that before we give them a break?”

The Oakland Town Board and other municipalities recently approved the resolution.