Breaking News
More () »

Voters stalled, turned away by malfunctioning machines

Machine's in Wayne County "froze" Tuesday morning, and voting machines in Oakland County were down.
Detroit residents vote at Bow Elementary-Middle School in Detroit on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.(Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

Michigan voters are being turned away from the polls, or left waiting in seemingly interminable lines, in various metro Detroit locations so far on Election Day.

Rex Nagy, a retired voter in Redford Township, said that his polling place at Pierce Middle School was relying on just one voting machine that had not been tested before Tuesday morning. Everything was at a standstill while around 100 people waited for the machine to get fixed.

From 7:50 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Nagy saw about half the line leave to go to work, he said.

"It stinks, it really does. So many people were upset," Nagy said.

Meanwhile, at Greenfield Elementary in Oakland County's Southfield Township, resident Sarah Donovan was also told her voting machine was out when she arrived to vote at about 8:30 a.m.

Many of the 20 to 30 others waited, but she went home to call the township. By about 9:15 a.m., she had heard the machine was up and running again.

The machine's batteries ran out after two hours, said the Southfield city clerk Sharon Tischler. It was plugged into a surge protector, but it the protector was set to the "off" switch, which was fixed by a custodian.

"They didn’t look to see whether the on or the off was working," Tischler said.

Tischler said she wasn't sure where ballots were placed while the machine was down.

Bernadette Sadler, 53, Detroit, receives a voted sticker from election poll official Betty Hammond, 79, Detroit, at Bow Elementary-Middle School in Detroit on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

Other machines in Wayne County "froze" this morning and have since been restored, said spokesperson for the clerk's office Lisa Williams-Jackson. Voters at both Riverside Elementary in Dearborn Heights and Addams Elementary School in Redford experienced the issue. Ballots cast during troubleshooting were placed in the auxiliary bin to be counted after polls close tonight.

Troubleshooting for a frozen machine is "actively" occurring in Livonia, she added.

Over in Brownstown, deputy city clerk Amy Whipple confirmed that a voter assistant terminal had crashed from about 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Carlson High School. The machine doesn't count ballots, but some people with disabilities may utilize the machine for assistance when marking down their choices.

And to top it off, some machines were briefly missing altogether. Early this morning, voters were turned away from Martin Luther King Jr. High School thanks to confusion over where exactly the voting machines were left inside the building.

Voters trekked across the street to Calvary Baptist Church instead. Luckily, everyone who came from the high school was able to turn in their ballot there, said the church's polling site adviser.

This story was reported with a tip from ProPublica's Electionland project, which monitors voting problems around the country. Tell us if you've had a problem voting here.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out