Capitol Buzz
October 16, 2020
Routes to Recovery Zoom Call Tuesday with DOA Staff -- Final Chance to Claim or Transfer your Allocation
League members are invited to join a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, October 20, at 4:00, and have your questions about the Routes to Recovery program answered by the state officials administering the program.

The Department of Administration (DOA) created the Routes to Recovery program using federal CARES Act dollars to reimburse local governments for their COVID related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and November 6, 2020.

The final online expense reporting period is November 7 to November 18.

Many communities have not yet used their Routes to Recovery allocation. According to DOA, over 200 cities and villages have not yet used their Routes to Recover allotment. Of the $190 million the state allocated to local governments through the Routes to Recovery program, more than $100 million remains unclaimed.

Matt Lynch, Chief Legal Counsel for the Department of Financial Institutions, and Dawn Vick, Administrator of the Division of Intergovernmental Relations at DOA will join us on Tuesday's Zoom call to answer your questions about submitting your COVID expenses for reimbursement or transferring your community's allocation to another jurisdiction.

Time: Oct 20, 2020, 4:00 PM Central Time

Join League's Routes to Recovery Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 838 0891 2369
Passcode: 049274

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       +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 838 0891 2369
Passcode: 049274
Observers and Guns at Polling Places on Election Day
The League has received lots of questions from communities about how to handle an anticipated increase in the number of poll watchers on election day while complying with COVID-19 social distancing best practices and whether communities may prohibit firearms in polling places.

Managing Polling Place Observers. The Wisconsin Elections Commission staff has posted an informative guidance memo on its website on managing observers at voting and counting locations on November 3rd.

  • Due to COVID-19 concerns, and to maintain proper social distancing, Commission staff recommend that the designated observer area should be located at least 6 feet from the poll book and voter registration areas of the polling place in order to limit proximity to poll workers and voters. 

  • To ensure the orderly conduct of any voting or ballot counting events, and if necessary due to space limitations of the location, an election official may reasonably limit the number of observers representing the same organization or candidate. Establishing reasonable limitations for observers will be especially important due to COVID-19 concerns and to avoid overcrowding. If multiple representatives of the same political party or organization are present at a location and wish to observe, it may be necessary to establish a rotation or schedule, so each representative has the opportunity to observe without overcrowding the voting area or central count location. 

  • All election observers are required to wear face coverings while inside the polling place, central count location or in-person absentee voting location. More information about face coverings requirements and recommendations for observers and voters can be found here:

Guns at polling places. The Wisconsin Elections Commission staff intends to post a polling place physical security guidance memo next week addressing in part whether and under what circumstances local governments may prohibit firearms at polling places. In the mean time, it is the League legal staff's opinion that state law allows a municipality to prohibit persons from carrying a firearm, openly or concealed, in municipal buildings by providing notice (generally by posting at the entrance a 5" by 7" sign) that a person may not enter or remain in the building with a firearm. See Wis. Stat. sec. 943.13(1m)(c)4. In addition, persons are generally prohibited from carrying firearms openly in buildings owned or leased by a local government. Wis. Stat. sec. 941.235. Finally, firearms openly carried or concealed are prohibited by state statute from school buildings. Wis. Stat. sec. 984.605.