96-year-old poll worker continues to brighten election day in unique way


WHEATFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) – If you listen closely at 7 a.m. the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, you may just hear Violet Lentz hollering, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The polls are now open!”

Lentz, 96, has been practicing her famous cry.

“Hear ye! Hear ye! The polls are now open!”

She probably doesn’t need the practice. She’s a poll worker and has been opening the polls the same way in Wheatfield Township for more than 70 years.

Lentz has never run for any public office, but she’s a household name in the township.

“It’s a rural area and all the people are so friendly and they just get to know everybody,” Lentz says.

A little more than seven miles from both Mason and Holt is the appropriately named Wheatfield Township. Its’ population is about 1,600 people.

Lentz knows everybody knows her in Wheatfield.

Wheatfield Township clerk Denise Kapp is the seventh clerk that has worked with Lentz. She smiles through her mask when talking about Lentz. Nearly everybody does.

“People do come in just to see her on election day,” Kapp says.

Lentz loves the potluck meal that she holds with whoever is the township clerk. She likes to bring the hot dish, something she can make in her crockpot.

She does more than just supervise the election and holler. She’s a proud farmer and a serious bowler too.

When News 10 first reached out to Lentz for this story, she kindly told us to call back later, because she was at her bowling league and it was her turn.

“I used to hold an average of 168,” she says proudly. She’s recently switched to a lighter bowling ball but still bowls twice every week.

Violet is a legend in the township. It probably doesn’t hurt her reputation that she gives out sweets at the polls too.

“I think some of them come just for the candy,” Lentz says laughing.

“For many people in this area, election day is a social event as much as a civic event,” Kapp says. “When people come to vote, seeing Violet is as much a part of them exercising their duty to vote and their right to vote as it is anything else.”

Reliable sources say that Lentz was on her game Tuesday. She belted out the call that brings people to the township hall to vote.

“I watch to make sure it’s right at 7:00, and then I push the doors open and I holler, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The polls are now open!”

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