ICYMI: City of Green Bay Mayor, Eric Genrich, Purposefully Caused Chaos on Election Day

April 9, 2020

[Madison, WI] –  In case you missed it, the city of Green Bay’s Mayor, Eric Genrich intentionally caused chaos ahead of the April 7 election. Rather than prepare to administer the election as safely and efficiently as possible, Genrich caused confusion and made it more difficult for people from his city to vote. His efforts to throw the election into chaos caused massive lines in the city of Green Bay to vote. 

The City of Green Bay declined free extra poll workers from the Wisconsin National Guard despite having a shortage of poll workers leading up to the April 7 election. As a result, the City of Green Bay only opened two polling locations when the city normally opens 31. Brown County Clerk, Sandy Juno, called the mismanagement of the election “unacceptable.”

The City of Green Bay’s mayor claimed that they didn’t want to have inadequately trained poll workers administering the election. It takes a few hours to be fully trained as a poll worker. The Brown County Clerk also explained that members of the National Guard were properly trained to be poll workers the weekend ahead of the election.

Green Bay’s mayor unsuccessfully sued state election officials to restrict access to in-person voting last month. If the City of Green Bay would have spent a fraction of the time preparing for the election that was spent launching a lawsuit against the state, they would have been able to run an election as smooth as other communities across the state.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to blame Republicans for long lines on election day even as other areas in the state were able to run election day smoothly. Mayor Genich prioritized playing political games over properly administering an election.

Read the full write up here or find excerpts below.

Brown County Clerk says election in Green Bay was mismanaged
Brittany Schmidt

We’re learning more Wednesday about major problems during the spring election which many people say prevented them from exercising their right to vote.

Action 2 News showed viewers the long lines at Green Bay polling places Wednesday after COVID-19 led the city to consolidate voting locations. Fewer poll workers and extra safety precautions meant the voting process took longer of each person.

At Green Bay West High School, one of two polling locations in the city, operations didn’t wrap up until about 1 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Unacceptable. To me that’s unacceptable,” said Sandy Juno, Brown County Clerk. “Clearly, the size of Green Bay only having two polling locations with one tabulator at each location was insufficient.”

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich declined an interview with Action 2 News on Wednesday, but in a Facebook Post he wrote, “I want to stress that this was not an option we chose eagerly. In fact, it was our last resort. Our contingency plan, once first realizing a significant decline in available poll workers, involved the use of our four high school gyms. That number fell to two locations as the number of experienced and trained poll workers fell further.”

A city staff member told Action 2 News that over the past few weeks the city lost 85 percent of its experienced poll workers. In an effort to maintain safety, the staffer said they needed to consolidate and find locations big enough to allow social distancing.

When Action 2 News asked Juno if she had any control over Green Bay’s decision to only have two polling places, she said ‘no.’

In the Facebook Post, Mayor Genrich goes on to say, along with City Clerk Kris Teske who also declined an interview with Action 2 News on Wednesday, that they “had the option of bringing inexperienced individuals into the process, but our city clerk and I did not feel comfortable implicating untrained city employees, members of the public, or members of the National Guard in a dangerous and stressful environment.”

Juno said the National Guard members were trained.

“The Wisconsin Election Commission trained all of the National Guard over the weekend. So they were all trained in elections. They just didn’t have practical experience working in the polls,” said Juno.

Juno said the City of Green Bay could have had more help because she had about 50 National Guard members who could have helped out at the polling locations.

“On Sunday, I did talk to the mayor because I was looking for a site to dispatch the National Guard from on Monday. And he again reiterated that they did not need them and they did not want them,” said Juno.

Action 2 News asked Juno if she could force Green Bay to use the National Guard members and she said, ‘No. That is not under my control. That is a municipal function.”

Juno said she had 140 National Guard members available to dispatch in Brown County. Of those, she used 92. Juno said she had 48 that were on-call Tuesday.

Action 2 News asked Juno if Green Bay could have called her to get those people and she said, ‘all they had to do was notify us. we had a whole bunch of them on call. We had 48.” 

When Action 2 News asked Juno, after she received several calls from voters upset about the long lines, why she didn’t call Green Bay saying she could send some help, she said, ‘You can’t talk to people when they have their phone automatically forwarded to voicemail. They did not reach out to us.”

“The failure yesterday was not because of COVID-19 because we had 1850 municipalities that successfully performed, all their elections went off with excellence. We had two that failed. (she is referring to the City of Milwaukee and City of Green Bay) That was not COVID 19 that was mismanagement of the election.”

Read the full write up here.