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Posted on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Computer malfunction causes long lines for voters at Ann Arbor Community Center

By Kyle Feldscher


Voters stand in line at the Ann Arbor Community Center Tuesday afternoon.

Kyle Feldscher |

Voters were forced to wait in long lines at the Ann Arbor Community Center Tuesday after a computer malfunction stopped voting for about half an hour, although unconfirmed reports stated the stoppage may have been longer.

Ed Golembiewski, director of elections for Washtenaw County, said the electronic poll book, which verifies voters’ registration status, had malfunctioned for a short time. Golembiewski said the chairperson at the First Ward, Precinct 4 polling place decided to stop the line to try to resolve the problem.

“The chairperson in charge stopped the line while they were trying to figure out what’s going on and they really shouldn’t have done that,” he said.

As of 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, the computer problem had been fixed and the line was again moving at the community center, 625 N. Main St. The line stretched out the door and snaked around the building onto the sidewalk heading south along Main Street.

Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry told the line at the community center was now running at about an hour. She said the pollbook had stopped working but was now functioning without any major problems.

"Unlike the paper process, the driver’s license can be scanned and quickly processed, but there is only one pollbook per precinct versus two paper books," she said in an email.

Voters standing near the entrance to the building said they had been waiting for about 45 minutes to an hour. One woman, who asked to only be identified as Jenny S., said she had waited two and a half hours to vote.

“We waited about a half hour for them to fix it and now it’s going fast,” she said as she was leaving the building.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

My wife, two very small children and I arrived about 9:30am and didn't get to vote until 11:45am. I was voter 295 after 4 and three-quarter hours of voting elapsed. It shouldn't have taken two and a quarter hours to vote with only 50 people an hour coming through ahead of us!! When we left after voting, the line was even longer than when we arrived and snaked throughout the building, out the building, across and out the parking lot and fifty feet down the sidewalk along Main Street! I have to add that the crowd was incredibly good natured and patient despite the huge inconvenience we all suffered!


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 6:08 a.m.

Was it incompetent or untrained poll workers that caused such an issue. It doesn't seem like a short delay with the computer malfunction should have caused such a problem by itself.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 2 a.m.

I got into Lawton at 10:10 and left at 12:45. And the computers were running just fine. Let's just say it changed the way I was going to vote with local politics.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

One pollbook computer per precinct??? It's 2012 and there is this thing called "networks". The kind seniors in my old precinct could check several people in at a time because they had us line up according to last name upon check in and they were always quick. We had LOTS of empty voting booths today because it took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Maybe next year the users will have to pass a computer speed test to qualify for check-in..."how do I turn this thing on anyway", "where is the letter D"? Hopefully no one gets fired from their jobs today because they were late for work, that would be good for the economy. Where do volunteers with real computer experience sign up for next time?

Linda Peck

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

I am sorry to hear the first ward had these issues. We in the 5-5 ward, and also 5-4 voting in the building, were moving through very quickly. I was in line and voted in probably 15 minutes, if not less. The clerks said it had been very busy earlier, and this was at about 9:40.

Bob Zuruncol

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

We can bank online, we can buy and sell stock online, we pay bills either online or dropping a check in the mail box, but every two years we have to stand in line, sometimes out in the cold and/or rain, sometimes for long periods of time, enduring breakdowns in equipment, and malfunctions with computers because it happens to be Tuesday in November. If the Koch Brothers and Matty Moroun had to go through this in order to buy their politicians, maybe they wouldn't bother.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Voting in America is sometimes more difficult than in a third world country....


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

Many third world countries have no vote! Dictators or tribes rule the country.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

From the photo, I'd think the line was longer outside the building than in that short hallway to the desk. Luckily the weather is pleasant today for early November.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

The line inside didn't go directly to the desk. We snaked around the ground floor into the furthest room and back to the front door and then to the desk. It took us 2-3/4 hours. From 10:55 A.M. to 1:35.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

I arrived at 11:13 AM and completed voting at 1:50 PM. So I think 2 hours and 30 minutes is probably a little more accurate than the 1 hour the county clerk, Ms. Beaudry is trying to sell. Maybe she should try actually doing something to alleviate these issues instead of brushing them under the table.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

I appreciate that you are so callous with my time and that 2.5 hours is not a big deal in the middle of your work day. I will always exercise my right to vote, including local, primaries, and national elections. However, when many individuals are able to vote in less than 15 minutes at other precincts, as I have confirmed with many of my friends and colleagues, the onus falls squarely on the city clerk and poll workers to do something different to improve efficiency.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

"was now running at about an hour" and the article was posted at 1:05 p.m., so it doesn't really apply to the time you were in line. Be glad people were out voting. It's not like you have to do this every week, so the extra time shouldn't be such a big issue. I was in line for over 2 hours at my polling location, but I planned my day to expect to wait.