“It was painful to watch:” Mayor Genrich, alders discuss what went wrong with Tuesday’s election


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Thursday’s city council meeting started on an emotional note from Mayor Eric Genrich as he reflected on Tuesday’s election.

“It was painful to watch, and I’m sure even more painful to experience, and I wish it had never happened as it did. I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made,” he said.

Tuesday night, a line wrapped around West High School, one of just two polling locations in the city. Some waited in line for four hours after the polls closed to vote.

“You could tell there was a simmering disbelief that this would happen in Green Bay,” Alderman Chris Wery told WFRV Local 5 in an interview before the meeting.

Alderman Wery says disbelief has given way to frustration in the days following the election.

Related: Green Bay alderman requests investigation into city’s election day

“The last couple days I’ve heard the frustration and anger and people can’t believe how this could have happened,” he said.

The city had originally hoped to hold voting in four high school gyms, but was forced to cut that number to two due to a lack of poll workers.

The city did not accept help from the National Guard, nor did it recruit volunteers.

“I was unwilling to actively recruit citizens into this process, either,” Mayor Genrich said. “People will get sick and some may die because of Tuesday’s in-person election and I was unwilling to play a part in implicating additional people into this public health disaster.”

But Alderman Wery said more could have been done to prevent Tuesday’s long lines.

“I think we had opportunities to make other choices that would have made our issues far less or even non existent,” he said.

Related: From lawsuits to long lines: The story of Wisconsin’s 2020 spring primary

Those answers will have to wait for now, the election is technically still underway, with results not expected until Monday.

“In the weeks ahead, Clerk Teske and I will provide a full and transparent debrief for the members of council,” Mayor Genrich said.

A report on the election is expected in time for the next full council meeting, which will take place on April 17.

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