Taking the ballot for a test drive

5:29 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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  • Four Michigan residents take the November ballot for a test drive.
  • Four Michigan residents prepare to take a sample ballot.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - You may need to carve out more time to vote on November 6 because the ballot is big.

With races for President, senators, judges, representatives and six proposals, this year's ballot is expected to take even longer.

"Most communities in Kent County have ballots that are 19 inches, double sided," explains Lauri Parks, city clerk of Grand Rapids. "There are a few that have a two page ballot which would be a front back and a second page."

Parks says  Grand Rapids is taking the ballot length into account, adding more voting booths at precincts.

To find out how long it will take to vote, WZZM 13 brought in four registered voters for a test run. We used sample ballots from different Grand Rapids precincts.

Three people predicated it would take between three minutes and six minutes, while one person expected to spend a half hour voting. We timed them to find out for sure.

Our fastest voter finished around four minutes,  which was one minute longer than he expected. He claimed he it got done quickly because he was prepared and had researched the candidates and issues. 

Our second voter finished a minute later. She said she was not prepared, and as a result she skipped some proposals and judges.

Our third voter finished in seven minutes.

He said, "This thing is like a two sided newspaper; it's huge, it's pretty big."

Our last voter finished around nine minutes. She said the proposals were poorly-worded, which confused her as to which way to vote.

Since this was only a sample ballot and not the real thing, most of our voters agreed they would have taken them longer in an actual election.

Our conclusion from this voting experiment: come prepared. You can bring a cheat sheet if you want. And don't forget to give yourself ample time to read through the ballot.

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