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Up to 400 Wisconsin National Guard troops to help at polls

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — No more than 400 Wisconsin National Guard troops will be needed to plug any shortages at polls on Election Day as coronavirus cases surge, the state’s top elections official said on Thursday.

There is currently a shortage of about 200 poll workers out of the roughly 30,000 who will be staffing the polls on Tuesday, said Wisconsin Elections Commission leader Meagan Wolfe. She said that small of a gap was “fantastic news” and reflects hard work by local officials to solicit volunteers and backups.

“We don’t have these reports of large, known shortages right now,” Wolfe said. Wolfe said she has also not heard any reports of any local election leaders becoming sick with COVID-19 and being unable to staff the polls on Election Day.

Guard troops will be kept on reserve and called upon to fill shortages as needed, she said. They will work in their local communities and not be in uniform, she said.

The number of Guard troops who may be used in Tuesday’s election is far less than other elections in Wisconsin earlier this year. About 2,500 troops were called up for the April presidential primary, 1,000 for the special election in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in May and 1,000 in the statewide August primary.

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