Wisconsin governor calls for National Guard to assist at polls: reports

"The help of the Guard will be needed to ensure that Election Day goes smoothly," the Democrat said Thursday

About 400 members of the National Guard will be deployed in Wisconsin to compensate for any shortages of poll workers in the state for Tuesday’s presidential election, Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday.

Evers, a Democrat, compared the Guard assignment to the role its personnel has already played in assisting with the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Wisconsin National Guard has played a critical role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and this mission is no different," Evers said, according to The Associated Press. "As Wisconsin faces an urgent crisis with more than 200,000 positive cases of COVID-19 across the state, the help of the Guard will be needed to ensure that Election Day goes smoothly and that voters and election officials alike have the assistance they need.”

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Evers hinted at a possible Guard deployment earlier this month.

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is seen in Madison, Wis., July 30, 2020. (Associated Press)

<br> Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is seen in Madison, Wis., July 30, 2020. (Associated Press)

The 400 Guard members will be a smaller number, however, than were deployed in Wisconsin for its April presidential primary and August down-ballot elections, the AP reported. For those elections, 2,400 and 700 Guard members were deployed respectively, the report said.

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The state is currently expecting a shortage of about 200 poll workers from the 30,000 or so needed for Tuesday’s voting, Wisconsin Elections Commission leader Meagan Wolfe told the AP.

Guard members deployed in the state will be serving in their local communities and won’t be wearing uniforms, Wolfe said.

Just days ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Wisconsin remained a key battleground state, with 10 electoral votes at stake. President Trump was scheduled to appear in Green Bay on Friday while Democrat Joe Biden was set to visit Milwaukee, FOX 6 of Milwaukee reported.

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Both Wisconsin cities ranked among the top 10 in the nation for the number of presidential campaign ads appearing on local TV, the report said.

Thursday was the final day for Wisconsin residents to request a mail-in absentee ballot and Friday is the final day for residents to register to vote at their local municipal clerk’s office, the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee reported.

Sunday will be the final day the state’s local clerks can offer in-person absentee voting, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.