Superior officials prepare for a busy Election Day
The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Millions of votes have already been cast nationwide in the runup to the Tuesday, Nov. 3 election.
Still, election officials are anticipating a busy day as voters cast ballots on Election Day. Even with the surge in cases of COVID-19, local election officials are taking precautions to ensure the safety of poll workers and voters with increased sanitation efforts and masks.
Wisconsin remains under a health order requiring the use of face coverings in indoor settings.
“Although we can highly encourage people to wear masks, we cannot prohibit people from voting if they do not wear a mask,” Superior City Clerk Terri Kalan said.
However, election observers will be required to wear a mask, according to guidelines issued by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
How to become a poll observer
Any member of the public, except the candidates, has the right to observe the election process. They can watch at absentee voting sites, polling places or ballot processing at central count facilities, but there are rules that must be followed.
Election observers must notify the chief election inspector they are there to observe, provide a photo ID, sign an election observer log and wear an election observer tag or badge. They must follow the directives of the chief inspector and make all inquiries or challenges to the chief inspector of the polling location.
Candidates are allowed to observe once the polls close.
RELATED: Kern, Milroy differ on redistricting, pandemic
RELATED: Tiffany, Zunker differ on COVID-19, Affordable Care Act
Observers are not entitled to view registration forms, proof of residence documents or the observer log on Election Day. They may ask the chief inspector to see nonconfidential documents such as the poll list when doing so will not delay or disrupt the election process.
Engaging in electioneering, wearing clothing or buttons or having conversations related to candidates, parties or referendums, and interacting with voters, unless requested, is prohibited. Observers may not handle official election documents, use still or video cameras, make calls in the polling site or enter vehicles of curbside voters.
Kalan said political parties can observe the election, but election inspectors can limit the number of party observers to one per party. The Wisconsin Elections Commission recommends rotating observers if space is limited and doesn't permit for physical distancing.
Poll workers needed
Superior put a call out this week for additional poll workers after several people expected to work dropped out because of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. One election worker went into quarantine after a possible exposure.
The goal is to have enough people in reserve so if someone has to quarantine or someone gets sick on Election Day, the city clerk’s office has a list of people they can call to help at the polls, Kalan said.
Election workers are paid $11.51 per hour for their time and workers can sign up for one of three shifts available: 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; 1 p.m. to about 9 p.m.; or 6 a.m. to about 9 p.m. Contact the city clerk’s office at 715-395-7200 to start the application process.
Mayor Jim Paine said no staff have had to quarantine and urged people who are interested to help fill the need.
“After speaking with Douglas County Public Health Department, we can assure citizens our polling locations for both early- and day-of voting are abiding by proper safety and sanitary requirements, and voters are safe to vote in person with limited risk of exposure,” he said.
Throughout Douglas County, most rural voters cast their ballots at their town and village halls. In Maple and the village of Solon Springs, voters cast their ballots at their community centers, and Lake Nebagamon voters cast ballots at the auditorium.
Most voters in Superior will vote at their usual polling site, except those who normally vote at the Salvation Army. Those voters will cast their ballots in the Government Center atrium.
Anyone under quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19 should contact their municipal clerk to determine what their voting options are ahead of time and should consider voting curbside, said Kathy Ronchi, Douglas County public health officer.
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, and absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted. The status of ballots returned by mail can be checked at myvote.wi.gov .