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City clerk says she’s getting hate mail over long voting lines

Nov 8, 2016

It’s been a rough election day for Marie Wicks, the city clerk of East Lansing.

This morning, she got word of a possible voter intimidation incident: a voter reported a man pulling two women wearing hijabs out of line at a polling site, and possibly redirecting them to another polling place.

Then the lines at Michigan State University campus started getting longer. Really, really long.

“There are some extremely unhappy people,” Wicks tells Michigan Radio. “People are waiting up to two ours, which is not acceptable ... it's too big [of a precinct] and next time I'm going to change that."

She says they’ve only got one computer at each polling location, so with the large turnout, poll workers switched to paper booking in order to process people faster. That's when the poll workers use a paper precinct list to mark off voters and their ballots, which they then enter into their electronic system after the polls close.  

But in the meantime, Wicks says the hate mail has poured in.

“I should be fired, I should be sued, I should be criminally investigated [according to this mail,]” she says. “I’m incompetent, and I have effectively disenfranchised voters and I cannot be trusted. Heads need to roll and a possible criminal investigation needs to happen.”

Still, Wicks says she’s got a thick skin. So far, she’s just going to try to get through this election night.