Lindsey Long, ranked #75 in the 2022 Extra Elite 100, is an uncommitted first baseman and power-hitter who plays for Kevin Shelton’s Texas Glory 18U Gold team.
She is from West Lafayette, Indiana and attends Harrison High School. She has played internationally in Taiwan twice and has written blogs for Extra Inning Softball several times.
In today’s Inside Pitch, she talks about her experience this week off the softball field as she helped work locally assisting with the big election this week….
What a year it’s been!
Back in January, I was returning from our championship win at the Puli Women’s Invitational in Taiwan (you can read about it here) when word was starting to grow that there was a virus spreading in Asia.
Thankfully, we all returned home safely and in good health, but we had no idea how the world was about to change.
By the time summer season rolled around almost everyone had been under some sort of quarantine or travel/work restriction. Tensions were rising, and protests were breaking out all over.
I witnessed protests in Texas, where I play for Kevin Shelton on the Texas Glory 18U Gold team, as well as here at home in Indiana. It was clear that people were ready to stand up for their beliefs.
Most of my Texas Glory teammates went back to school virtually in Texas and Oklahoma. However, my school, Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, moved forward with in-person learning. I headed back to class in late August.
In early October, my AP US History teacher, Mr. (Kyle) Holderfield, mentioned that there was an opportunity for me to volunteer at the polls on election day. I immediately sent an email to the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections, and then texted my mom to let her know my plan.
Indiana has a program called the Hoosier Hall Pass which allows high-performing 16 and 17-year-olds to be a part of the election process by working at the polls.
First, I needed to email my interest to my local Board of Elections. Then, about two weeks later, I received some virtual training which included how the polling station would be set up, and what tasks we would be assigned to do.
Finally, my parents, my high school principal and the representative from the Board of Elections had to sign off on my participation and absence from school.
By the afternoon of November 2, I still did not have my assigned polling place. I called the Board of Elections and was able to secure a spot at a church not far from my house. This was great news because they informed me that I needed to be at the location by 5 am!
I went to bed at 9 pm and was up and out of the house at 4:30 am. While the polling location was close, I didn’t want to be late.
When I arrived, we set up the machines and made sure they were all turned on and working properly. We ensured each unit was zeroed out and no votes were showing as cast. Then we cleaned everything, got the “I Voted!” stickers prepared and hung up instructional signage.
I was sworn in as a poll worker and promised not to talk about any results that I may have been privy to. I also signed a document stating that I was a judge for the election and I was completing the assigned tasks at the polls.
The polls opened right at 6 am and we were very busy until 7am. After that, things slowed down a bit, but we continued to have a steady flow of voters all day. Indiana has electronic voting machines, so my initial job was to clear out the machines after each voter finished.
Voters are given a key card (much like a credit card) that is loaded with their voter information. They insert the card into the machine and it pulls up their ballot for voting.
Once the “Cast Your Vote” button is pressed, the key card pops out and the voter takes the card to the drop box for processing. After voters cast their ballots, I checked the machines to make sure all votes were cleared out and there were no issues for the next voter in line.
Later in the day I moved on to voter check-in. Voters are asked to present their ID which I then checked against the voter registrations. The information I pull up then shows up on a small signature pad in front of voter. I would ask the voter to confirm their information is correct and then sign with the pen provided. Then I would process their voter card and allow them to move on to the voting machines.
Since tensions have been high, I wasn’t sure what to expect from anyone waiting in line. For the most part, everyone was patient and kind. We did have one gentleman who entered the polling location wearing political attire.
Indiana voting laws state that you cannot wear any political attire inside the polling stations. When we informed the man of the law, he became agitated and gave our team some pushback on the issue. We did have to call the police, but the man eventually complied and was able to vote without issue.
Our polls closed at 6 pm, but anyone in line by that time still has the right to vote. We wrapped up around 7pm and I finally arrived home at 7:15 pm after nearly 15 hours of working to make sure those in Tippecanoe County had their voices heard!
I was exhausted but excited. I wanted to stay up to watch the results but didn’t make it very late as I was wiped out.
I am grateful that Indiana offers this program to teens and I would highly encourage any young person reading this to see what volunteer opportunities are available in your area.
It’s an experience I won’t soon forget and has only increased my desire to be more involved in local and national issues.
I want to thank Mr. Holderfield for not only teaching us about US History but also giving us the opportunity to be a part of it.
Even though I was too young to vote, I participated in a meaningful way in a historical presidential election that saw more people vote than ever before…and that was a pretty sweet way to spend election day!
— Lindsey Long, Class of 2022, West Lafayette, Indiana