Preparing for the big day: Poll workers in Onalaska go through election day training

ONALASKA (WKBT) — At the Onmi Center in Onalaska, roughly 55 poll workers and dozens of chief inspectors gathered to train for the upcoming election.

Voting is considered a constitutional right, but without a certain group of people – that right becomes hard to exercise.

“You know, most of them are giving up their daily job to come work the polls,” La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said.

Poll workers are a key part of the democratic voting process.

“We have people from all walks of life, all ages, here to be a part of the process,” poll worker Kathleen Kennedy said.

Kennedy says she has always been interested in government.

“I was the nerdy kid in middle school, high school who took government classes,” she said.

In April, Kennedy signed up to be a poll worker for the primary election.

“I liked it so much that I certainly mentioned to the clerk that I would love to be considered to do this again,” Kennedy said.

Polls workers and chief inspectors are responsible for a variety of tasks at a polling place including checking in voters, getting voters registered, helping with voting machines and counting ballots. Kennedy says that being a poll worker gives her first-hand experience into the election process.

“I feel reassured again by our clerks that our process is as safe as it can be. A lot of safeguards in place,” she said.

Dankmeyer says poll workers also help answer questions. She says one of the most common myths is about voting machines.

“They’re not sitting online for hours and hours throughout the day like some people believe,” Dankmeyer said.

Dankmeyer says she looks forward to training new poll workers.

“I love – my favorite part is the training, meeting the poll workers, talking with them,” she said.

Kennedy says she hopes everyone will come out on Nov. 8 and take part in their constitutional right.

“Vote. Vote. Vote.”

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.