Among the five Vernon Crothersville precinct poll site workers at First Baptist Church on Tuesday, Frank Lehman was the only man.
He served as one of two judges, whose responsibilities include helping people get set up to vote electronically and insert their ballot into the voting machine.
He said he also was doing his best to keep his four coworkers — Kelly Schmelzle, Janet Lewis, Karen Metz and Jennifer Harris — in line.
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“That’s not a challenge. It’s not possible,” Lehman said, laughing.
That statement caught the women’s attention, and one of them said lunch was coming soon, and he may not be invited to eat with them.
“I brought some oranges and some bread in case I don’t get anything else to eat,” he said, smiling.
The five poll workers had to keep the mood light Tuesday as voters made their way to the polls from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. By noon, about 80 of the 1,142 registered voters in Crothersville had voted.
During downtime, besides joking around with the others, Lehman said he brought his Kindle to read. The poll workers also ate cinnamon rolls and drank coffee in the morning and looked at social media and other websites on their cellphones to pass the time between people coming in to vote.
Schmelzle, the polling site inspector, said poll workers arrived at 5 a.m. to prepare for opening an hour later. Several people were at the church ready to vote at 6 a.m., and Schmelzle expected lunchtime and after-work hours to be busy, too.
She said she was an inspector at Tampico a couple of years ago, and this was her first time working at Crothersville, where she lives.
“I love to be a part of our community,” she said. “I do my civic duty. I don’t mind volunteering. If Amanda (Lowery, Jackson County clerk), needs help, then I’m willing to help.”
Once voters entered the church gymnasium, they presented their identification and signed in to vote with Lewis and Metz, who both served as clerks.
Lewis said she has worked the polls on Election Day for about a dozen years. She said certain times of the day can be hectic, but she likes helping out.
“I just really wanted to do it,” she said. “It’s hard to get people to come down here and do it because like today, when you don’t have a lot of people in, it goes slow.”
Lewis said she also knew several people who did absentee voting.
“A lot of them mailed their ballots in,” she said. “My husband and I, we went to Brownstown and voted (at the courthouse) because we knew we were going to work here, so we always go over there and vote.”
Metz said she worked at the polls two years ago at Dudleytown, but she didn’t do it last year because she ran for the Jackson County Council.
“My husband was always involved in the precinct up at Uniontown, so now that I’m retired, I’m enjoying it,” she said. “It’s a long day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but it is enjoyable because you see lots of people. I worked for over 30 years with the public, and I worked for the county, so it was kind of just my thing.”
After signing in, voters had their choice of a paper ballot or using the electronic voting machine. Lehman, Harris and Schmelzle helped people vote electronically and turn in their ballots.
Lehman said in the five years he has worked the polls, he has seen more people vote electronically.
“When they first brought those things, everybody was scared of them,” he said. “But I think everybody that has used them thinks they are easier.”
Harris said this was her second time working the polls. While it makes for a long day, she said the other workers keep her laughing.
“It’s fun, and it’s meeting new people,” she said. “I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I don’t get out in the public a whole lot, and I enjoy seeing the different faces.”