Local officials, poll worker discuss a proposed bill that would extend voting hours

Right now, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. on Election Day in Indiana. A proposed bill would extend voting hours until 8 p.m.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 6:51 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- Indiana Republican Rep. Timothy Wesco of District 21 is proposing a bill that would extend voting hours on Election Day.

Right now, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

This proposed bill would extend voting hours until 8 p.m.

Carol Nasser has been a poll worker in Vigo County for nearly 10 years.

She's apprehensive about the bill, and what it could mean for poll workers.

The proposal would extend voting hours on Election Day by two additional hours.

"Instead of it being a 12-hour or 13-hour day. It would turn into like a 15 or 16-hour day, and there's not a lot of people that can devote 15 or 16-hours a day on Election Day."

Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman says this bill has pros and cons.

"First of all, getting poll workers to work the elections is hard enough,” Newman said. “Telling them we're going to add two hours to their already 14-hour day that makes a 16-hour day, and there's a lot of people who work the polls that struggle with the hours we have now."

Newman says extra time means extra money.

"You're adding two more hours of pay to everybody's pay, and that in itself, we've been very financially responsible, and we try to continue that,” Newman said. “I think there's some things we need to sit down and talk about before this bill goes forward. I think funding is a huge thing that we have to talk about."

But, supporters of the bill believe this would boost voter turnout.

"People work long hours and have family responsibilities; they need more time to get to the polls,” Terre Haute resident Carol DeFrance said. “More people would vote if they could go on Election Day.”

The bill is currently still being considered by Indiana lawmakers.

News 10 will continue to follow its progress.

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