Oakland County voters frustrated by ballot shortages at several polling locations

Oakland County clerk says turnout far exceeded expectations


FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – The final numbers haven't been calculated, but precincts across Metro Detroit reported big turnouts for primary day.

The turnout led to ballot shortages and long lines at many polling locations, especially in Oakland County. Voters in several Oakland County communities reported polling problems.

Oakland County's 26th Precinct got about 400 more voters than expected, and that led to long waits as they ran out of ballots several times.

"Forty minutes ago I was right there," voter Daniel Swaine said. "(I've moved) 2 feet in 40 minutes."

Instead of waiting, some voters left.

"I have a baby and they're out of ballots, so my chance of voting is slim," resident Raef Abdallah said.

Others demanded answers.

"I am exercising my rights to vote and I feel like my rights are being infringed upon now," voter Vanessa Wojtowycz said. "Somebody is trying to hold me down. Every city knows how many people are registered. Where are the ballots?"

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown said voter turnout far exceeded expectations, with some precincts possibly seeing 70 to 80 percent turnout. Brown said that's something they never could have prepared for.

"They've asked us to come out and show our opinions and now we do that and it's about as difficult as possible," Swaine said.

The voting machines in Oakland County are equipped to print out more ballots, yet some places didn't have the correct paper, and one poll worker said each ballot takes three to five minutes to print.

"This is my right to vote," Wojtowycz said. "If they get a fan out here I'll be here all night."

Abdallah was able to return just before 8 p.m. Tuesday after dropping his daughter off. He said he waited an hour and a half to vote.

"I'm glad, and I'm not the last one in line, too," Abdallah said.

The polling location ran out of ballots for the final time with one person left in line. That person voted around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, an hour and a half after the polls closed.

About the Authors: