Angie Troyer is the Elkhart County Clerk’s Office voting outreach coordinator. With the primary election on Tuesday, Troyer is encouraging voters to get to the polls and let their voices be heard.
Q: How did you get into this job?
A: I started January of last year, so this is my third election, second cycle. I have a background in teaching and stage management, so it’s a lot of educating the public, so I enjoy that. But it’s also a lot of organizing and logistics behind the scene, which is what I really like. If I can put it in an Excel sheet, that’s what I’m all about.
Q: What are all your duties?
A: I’m in charge of making sure that people receive the assistance they need for registration and absentee. This year we’re really focusing on our health-care facilities and nursing homes, residential facilities, things like that. Making sure that those people are registered and have what they need there and have an absentee ballot by mail. We’re doing an absentee call project. So everyone that has voted by mail since 2012, I got that list from our records and both party chairs. I’m calling them and saying, “Do you want to vote by mail again?” We started late February with that project, hoping to frontload our paperwork and we’ve already greatly increased our numbers from where we were this time 2012.
Q: Is this time of year exciting, especially this year with Indiana’s primary being a little more important than it usually is?
A: This would be my first presidential election cycle. Indiana is going to matter a little bit more, but I always tell people we also have contested local (and) state races. It’s not just president on the ballot. Some people won’t even vote for president, but they’ll participate in smaller caliber elections. Those are just as important and can affect you more directly. I’m really excited. It’s been very busy, but it’s going well.
Q: How long does absentee voting run?
A: Absentee voting opened April 5 and will run until noon on May 2. We’ve extended our hours, so we’re open until 8 p.m. to get people after work. And we’re also open Saturday so (for) people who work during the week, we’re opening it up on Saturdays. It’s open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. so it’s a full day (Saturday). They can vote on Saturdays in Nappanee at First Brethren Church, in Middlebury at the Middlebury Town Hall, at the Lincoln Center in Elkhart and the Elkhart County Administration Building on Second Street in Goshen.
Q: Is your goal just to get as many people to vote as possible?
A: We’ve all seen the lines from different states in the presidential election so far. We’ve heard most people don’t enjoy waiting in line, they don’t want to stay out (late). I can tell you as someone who is involved in elections and administration that I don’t want to work that long because I’m already working a very, very long weekend. So we’re just trying to frontload. You don’t have to remember to do it, so there is no option of forgetting. Coming out and doing it early, that way you don’t have to worry about waiting in line, you’re not going to worry if you have enough time to do it over your lunch break. There’s no wait. If for some reason something goes wrong and you have an issue when you come in, it’s much easier to deal with that when you’re not feeling the pressure of people behind you. You’re not feeling pressure to run home. On average it takes two to three minutes from walking in the door to walking out depending on how quickly you vote. So, we have our process down fairly well.
Q: Any final thoughts as we head into the election?
A: I would say (improve) voter turnout. Indiana in 2014 was last, so (we’re) definitely wanting to (change that). We were 28th in 2012, 38th in 2010, last in 2014. So we matter now, let’s up our voter turnout. I always tell people, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” Most people are going to ask you when you’re complaining about something, “Well did you vote? Were you taking an opportunity and using your voice to be represented?” “Well no, I don’t vote, voting doesn’t matter, it’s just one vote.” I can’t help you. I’m going to make it as accessible as I can and give you as much information as I can and help you. But if you’re not willing to meet me somewhere in the middle, well, there’s nothing I can do.