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Voting problems reported in some urban Michigan precincts

Nov 8, 2016

Long delays at some voting places in Washtenaw and Wayne counties have caused some voters to leave before casting their ballots, according to a non-partisan election protection coalition in Michigan that is working in partnership with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

"There've been issues on the campus at the University of Michigan where students are waiting for two and three hours to vote. But all of the poll booths are set up and empty," said Melanie McElroy, director of the Michigan coalition. "They're merely waiting to be checked in electronically."

McElroy said there was only one electronic poll book at the U-M polling place. A spokesperson for the city of Ann Arbor said the long lines were due to high voter turnout and had nothing to do with check-in laptops.

McElroy said voting in Detroit was hindered by broken voting machines as well as check-in problems.

"We've had issues not only on the front end with the electronic poll books as people sign in," said McElroy, "but then also with the machines that you feed the ballots into at the end."

McElroy said some voters were turned away incorrectly for not having picture identification, which is not required to vote in Michigan.

McElroy said these are not new problems, but they've seen more of them in this election than in 2012.

The Detroit city clerk's office could not be reached for comment.