Voter turnout shatters records on 2018 primary day in Michigan

Troy residents asked to write votes on torn pieces of paper

DETROIT – Voter turnout was unexpectedly high during primary day in Michigan, as more than 30 percent of residents in Oakland County showed up to cast their ballots. But some polling locations ran out of ballots.

Troy resident Joe Beyer is asking why he had to walk away from his precinct Tuesday night without voting after he was asked to handwrite his choices on paper.

"Literally on a ripped-up piece of paper," Beyer said. "It wasn't even a nice piece of paper, saying, 'Here, write your name on here, who you're going to vote for and we'll figure it out at the end of the night.'"

Beyer said he never misses an election and got to the 14th Precinct in Troy just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

"I thought, 'No. This isn't right. This is not the American process,'" Beyer said.

He said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the long lines. He thought he was being disenfranchised.

"People have fought and lost their lives so we have this right, not to have to write down on little pieces of paper and hand it to someone and say, 'Hey, at the end of the night will you make sure my vote is cast in the appropriate legal manner?'" Beyer said. "That's just wrong."

Around 50 people actually did vote that way in Troy, officials said. Clerk Aileen Dickson apologized and said the county didn't send enough ballots. She said the handwritten ballots will have to be transferred and counted.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wasn't happy.

"It's an embarrassment to me and the clerk in charge of the election," Patterson said.

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown said many communities didn't have proper printing processes in place.

"I would have thought this would happen in a Third World country," Beyer said.

Patterson said clerks knew to expect high turnout. Brown only sent a percentage of ballots from the last midterm election.

When about double the voters turned out, precincts didn't have enough ballots. Patterson said it won't happen again in November.

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