Marion County won’t hire more poll workers; officials filling in to help shorten lines

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — County election officials insisted Wednesday they had enough poll workers for early voting and Election Day, and told residents to disregard social media posts from community groups attempting to recruit additional help.

Meanwhile, the county clerk and her office’s deputy director said they were both filling in as backup poll workers at the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis.

“I’ll just step in and get it done to allow our election workers to take a break,” said Russell Hollis, deputy director for the Marion County Clerk’s Office.

In addition to his regular office duties, he assists with checking voters in, monitoring the voting process and ensuring ballots are handled properly.

Myla Eldridge, the Marion County clerk, took on a third role as the voting center’s unofficial dinner administrator.

“We have been so fortunate to have vendors drop off pizza, so at the end of the night, I became a pizza pusher and was giving out free pizza to voters as they exited the polls,” she told News 8.

The clerk and her staff are “just trying to be team players,” she added.

Voters and community groups suggested hiring additional poll workers to expedite the voting process and shorten lines at early voting centers.

Most polling locations in Marion County are “virtually maxed out” and cannot accommodate more workers or voting equipment due to social distancing requirements, according to Hollis.

Election officials recruited additional help before the county’s extended voting hours took effect Wednesday and said they did not need more poll workers.

The county has more than 4,000 poll workers this election cycle, up from approximately 3,000 in 2016.

Richard Trotman, a first-time poll worker at the City-County Building, set himself apart from his numerous peers by attempting to create memorable voting experiences, especially for first-time voters.

He shouts out birthdays, cheers for new voters and sings to keep spirits up among weary voters casting their ballots after long waits.

“When you come out, we’re going to have fun. We’re going to laugh,” Trotman told News 8. “I want [the first-time voters] to be able to come back again and not let this experience be so ho-hum.”