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Posted on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:45 a.m.

Lines reported in Ann Arbor area as voters cast ballots

By Ben Freed


UM sophomores Hallie Shepps and Jenna Harsch wait in line to vote at The Michigan League on Tuesday. They had been waiting for 45 minutes.

Daniel Brenner I

Editor's note: reporter Ben Freed is visiting polling places in Washtenaw County Tuesday morning to document voters' experiences and capture the scene at the polls. Check this post throughout the morning for updates. The photo caption above has been changed to correct the name of the school.


Ann Arbor resident Michelle Clark looks over a sample ballot as she waits in line to vote at Forsythe Middle School on Tuesday morning. Voters were waiting around an hour to cast their vote.

Melanie Maxwell |

Lines were down Tuesday afternoon from earlier in the day when some voters in the Ann Arbor area reported waits of more than an hour to cast their ballots in an election that will decide everything from president to township board member and plenty of issues in-between.

Ed Golembiewski, director of elections for Washtenaw County, said Tuesday afternoon that turnout was predictably heavy, and lines had been reported at many polling locations. He said voting appeared on pace to meet pre-election expectations of 65 to 70 percent turnout. That is similar to the turnout that was reported for the 2008 presidential election, he said.

Lines Tuesday afternoon will likely be down from morning levels he said, but could pick up again after 5 p.m. Anyone who is in line by 8 p.m., the poll closing time, will get to vote no matter how long it takes he said.

Statewide, there are six proposals on the ballot, many of which have had multimillion-dollar campaigns run both for and against them.

In Washtenaw County, a bond proposal for a new downtown Ann Arbor library is one of many local issues that will be decided Tuesday. Of particular importance to voters in eastern Washtenaw County is the proposed consolidation of Ypsilanti and Willow Run schools.

The only way to have a say in any of these issues is to head to one of 143 polling locations in Washtenaw County and make your voice heard.


15-month-old Rosemarie Cassidy stands in line with her mother Sara as they wait to vote at Forsythe Middle School on Tuesday morning.

Melanie Maxwell |

As of Monday, 16.5 percent of Washtenaw County's 280,548 registered voters had already voted by absentee ballot. Between the interest in the election and the length of the ballot, Golembiewski said voters should expect a wait today.

Early voting saw few problems, he said. A couple of tabulators broke down and had to be replaced or repaired. Some ballots in Scio Township's Precinct 8 were defective with stray marks on them, but he said they have enough to keep going until they can get new ones delivered.

This post is being updated throughout the morning as we talk to people in Washtenaw County about why they are voting, who they are voting for, and what makes a difference to them in this election.

6:50 a.m. - Ann Arbor Downtown Library

A small crowd waited outside at the polling place at the downtown Ann Arbor public library on South Fifth Avenue before the polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

First in line was Dale Harris, a retired US Army veteran. He said he arrived at the polling place at 5:45 a.m.

While ballot proposals and local candidates have been getting a lot of attention in Michigan, it was the top of the ticket that was important for Harris.

“I’m here this early for the presidential election, the rest of it I don’t get into so much,” he said. “I’m here to vote for Romney.”

Carolyn Miller also arrived before the polls opened, but she was there to cast her ballot for Romney’s opponent.

“I’m voting for Obama today, because he wants to help the middle class,” she said.

Despite the fact that they were voting at the library, none of the early arrivers seemed particularly interested in the proposed bond issue to fund a new downtown library.

“A bigger one would be nice, I guess,” Miller said. “I see kids come by here a lot, so it’d be nice to get a bigger one for them.”

7:50 a.m. - Ann Arbor Assembly of God

Voters at this church in the Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood east of downtown Ann Arbor were greeted as they drove in by three volunteers holding signs urging “Yes” votes on various ballot proposals.


Campaign workers and volunteers hold signs Tuesday morning as they try to influence voters in front of the Ann Arbor Assembly of God just off Washtenaw Avenue.

Ben Freed |

“I think people pretty much have their mind made up on most things,” one of the sign holders, Bernedia Word, said.

“But this helps people who might have not decided yet.”

Word said there had been a pretty constant stream of traffic into the polling station since she got there at about the time the polls opened. Polling place chairperson Christine Ruwe said she expected to be busy throughout the day, but especially in the early morning and after 5 p.m.

“Realistically, that’s when most people try to come to vote,” she said. “When they’re going to or coming from work.”

Ruwe said that the number of people in line to vote this year as the polling station was higher than four years ago, and that the line had wrapped all the way around the front of the building.


Precinct election inspector Alan Connor checks the identification of a voter Tuesday morning at Forsythe Middle School.

Melanie Maxwell |

“We have 13 polling stations, but it’s still taking people a good amount of time to vote,” she said.

“The last person who voted said he waited for 45 minutes to cast his ballot.”

Elsewhere in Ann Arbor, some people were reporting they had to stand in line for about an hour to vote.

The Assembly of God polling station was given 1,800 ballots, and Ruwe said 77 had been tabulated so far, with another 40-or-so people in a line that did not seem to growing any shorter as the minutes wore on around 8 a.m.

11:20 a.m. - Adams Elementary School


Voters at Adams Elementary School in Ypsilanti were able to vote without waiting in line at around 11:20 a.m.

Ben Freed | Ann

Sorry for the long break here; had to go chat with Governor Snyder at his polling place.

There was no line at the Ward 3 Precinct 2 voting location in Ypsilanti. However, co-chairperson Charlay Bibins said that of the approximately 1,500 voters who were registered to vote at the location, approximately 320 had already cast their ballots.

Elizabeth Scriven said that she came in the late morning on purpose because she knew there would probably be a lull in the long voter lines. The most important issues for her on the ballot were Proposal 2 and the Ypsilanti-Willow Run school consolidation.

“All of the folks who I know who are involved with the school system have been very positive about the consolidation,” she said.

“Anything we can do to keep control with the schools and the people who work in them and away from the state government is a good thing in my opinion.”

Student Bekah Whitehead also benefited from the lack of a line, but said she was ready to vote now simply because it fit into her class schedule. As a Republican, Whitehead said she mostly toes the party line, but there are some exceptions.

“I don’t vote the straight ticket; I pick and choose some,” she said. “There were some Democratic candidates I wanted to vote for, and I think that while Proposal 5 is a good idea, it goes a bit to far for me.”

12:15 - Perry Child Development Center

Twitter reports of computer issues at Ypsilanti Ward 1 Precinct 1 surfaced around noon, but turned out to be unfounded said chairwoman La’Cora Jones.

“We had a jam for maybe two minutes, and then it was all fixed,” she said.

“No one has been turned away except for some people who were in the wrong precinct or not registered.”


Bill Riney was encouraging people to vote Tuesday morning as he handed out free hot dogs from his homemade trailer.

Ben Freed |

Even without a computer jam, the line was still impressive, and people at the front said they had waited upwards of an hour to vote at the location. Jones said that she was given 1,650 ballots at the beginning of the day and about 250 had been cast a little before noon.

"We're getting a little break now with the line," she said.

"Before it was twisted all the way around a few times down the hall. This is a huge turnout for our precinct."

Out in front of the polling location, local landscaper Bill Riney (also calling himself The Obama Hot Dog Man) was handing out free hot dogs and pop to passers-by.

“I’ve been out for five years giving out hot dogs in support of Obama. I pay for it all out of my own pocket,” he said.

Riney, who was accompanied by his golden Labrador retriever, may support the president for re-election, but he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to hot dogs.

“I’ll feed anyone who’s hungry,” he said. "Nothing beats being out here on election day."

1:20 p.m. - Liberty School

Not only was there not a line at the Liberty School on Ann Arbor Street in Saline just after the "lunch hour rush," there were nearly 20 open polling stations at each of the two precincts housed here.

"Our city clerk is Dianne Hill, and she is very, very organized," Precinct 1 chairperson Pat Jensen said.

“They have their research done and make sure we have everything we need ahead of time. Even all of our absentee ballots are counted in a different precinct so we don’t have to worry about that.”

There were 24 polling booths in each of the two precincts housed in the school, a higher number than the two locations I visited in Ypslianti, and both reported that they had been able to get people into and out of their polling stations with very little hassle.

“The challengers have been watching us, and they say that the longest anyone has waited today was 23 minutes,” Jensen said.

Precinct 1 had already tabulated about 650 ballots out of their allotted 1,300. Precinct 2 had counted 518 votes out o 1,475.

The lawns outside the school were awash with yard signs at a level that eclipsed many other polling locations. Republican signs overwhelmingly outnumbered Democratic ones, with plenty of signs up in the mayoral race between Glenn Law and Brian Marl.

2:30 - Pioneer High School

There were reports earlier today about long lines at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, but by 2:30 p.m. those lines had dissipated as a slow but steady stream came in to cast their votes.

Ward 4 Precincts 4 and 8 both vote at Pioneer, and the chairpersons both said that the lines earlier in the day had been impressive.

"We had one person here when we came to open the doors at 6 a.m." Precinct 4 chairperson Linda Soper said.

"I don’t know why more people don’t camp out to make sure they can vote quickly. People camp out for concert tickets, or for Black Friday shopping, why not to exercise their democratic rights."

Precinct 8 chairman Albert Fillion said the longest he was aware of that anyone had waited in line to receive a ballot in his precinct was just under one hour. However, one of his major concerns all day has been how long people it has taken people to run their ballots in after receiving them.

"A lot of people did not take the time to read the proposals on the ballot and learn about them ahead of time,” he said.

"There were people taking 30 or 40 minutes in the booth to read everything, decide, and vote on it.”

Fillion said that backup in the booths caused most of the delays that people experienced while voting this morning. There was also a booth shortage, but that was quickly remedied with a call to the clerk’s office, Soper said.

As of 2:30, there had been 754 ballots cast in Precinct 4 and 586 in Precinct 8. Precinct 4 had been allotted 1,800 ballots, while Precinct 8 got 2,300, election workers said.

Soper said that four years ago, after the morning rush there was not a second big turnout of "after dinner” voters. She said she’s seen a similar pattern this year, with voters coming out in smaller and smaller numbers throughout the day.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

And if you are in the 4th ward I suggest that you write in Jack Eaton for council. No, it won't count for anything but it just feels good.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

We should all be thankful that we don't live in Florida, where people waited nine hours to vote! Two hours is but a small price to pay for democracy.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

I have to say it's frustrating that all these in-town-for-the-moment college students are voting on property tax millages that permanent residents will pay, some for 30 years. Congrats to the success of the sleazy chasing of these votes for things like public art and replacing libraries.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Yes, Rusty, because those are our only two choices: revert to the 1800s, or place 100% blind trust in the hands of people who purposefully arrange to seek the votes of a disinterested, uneducated, and/or uninvolved temporary population.

rusty shackelford

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

We could always go back to 1820, when only property owners could vote.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

As expected, the person who rips off the little tab before I feed the ballot into the machine opened the folder wide enough to glimpse the entire front, and then pulled it out the top far enough to see the top 2 circles; so if I had voted straight Republican or straight Democrat, they could see that. This mishandling of my ballot has been consistent at my polling place over my last 7 or so visits. I don 't know how much money is spent on training these people, but I encourage voters to watch the handling of their ballot in the folder when they give it to this person. I'd like to hear if this is happening elsewhere.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 7:02 a.m.

Agree, Its supposed to be a secret ballot. They pull it out so the ballot can feed. Another design failure by folks who should know better.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

I would not be afraid for them to know who I voted for. It's not like they could destroy the ballot or change it.

Ryan Daly

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

Almost a two hour wait at the Michigan Union.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Thurston school around 3pm; lines were reasonable and I was in and out within 30 minutes (hey, it's a long ballot!). Kudos to the poll workers, they're doing a fantastic job.

Julia Mattucci-Clark

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Thank goodness the lines were long and people were out voting!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Tried to vote this AM in Pittsfield Twp. and could not. No place to park? Had to come back 6 hours later.

Constance Colthorp Amrine

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

2.5 hours at Lawton Elementary (10:30am-12:55pm)


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Only 1 laptop at Ypsi precinct 1. Way too long to get through the check-in. Voting stations sitting open and no one moving along very fast. Gonna be some testy people later when it gets busy after work.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Only one laptop at my precinct (W3-P9 at Scarlett), but things flowed smoothly. I suspect that it's more a question of the training and comfort level of the computer operators than of the number of computers in use. It's new technology for Ann Arbor polls... but I can remember feeling frustration with poll workers apparently unfamiliar with the alphabet as they looked up my information in the 3-ring binders. this is a large, very temporary workforce, and you have to take your chances each time you go to the polls.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Is just very excited about the buzz in the air over the election and loves to see democracy in action. I remain hopeful that we won't hear the horror stories of voter suppression, lies about election fraud and scare tactics to keep voters away from the polls. So far, so good! Knocking on wood.....

Paul Taylor

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Yeah, Cobblestone was a two hour wait. A long, looping line that folded back on itself a couple times, snaked its way up two flights of stairs (to the level above the actual voting floor), and then voters released in small groups down to the voting floor where it half-looped once before the actual voting began. Best thing, though, was the entertaining chat I had with a woman ahead of me in line. You can meet interesting people when you vote!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

No line in Superior Township at 3:30.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Only 1 laptop checking people in at Cobblestone Farms and AA downtown polling locations -- what gives?

An Arborigine

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

2pm Dicken School 4-7 no line, 5-7 maybe 8 people in line. 7:30 am 4-7 200 in line, 5-7 only 40.


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

Scarlett Middle School this morning, arrived at 8:40, out at 9:40. I had my "I Voted" sticker from the August primary on my bike helmet, and when I applied today's sticker, I noticed that the August sticker was 3" x 1", while today's sticker is 1-1/2" x 3/4 ". Is this a cost-saving measure? Did they use smaller stickers because a much higher turnout was expected? Will we speculate on just anything while waiting for election results?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

My sticker looks like the one I've always received for voting.

music to my ear

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

I waited 5 mins I live in a township,was good to go


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Skyline HS, 10:15am - In and out in 30 minutes.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

There should be a 100 foot distance between any promotional materials and the actual place of voting.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:59 a.m.

Hi Jamie, That is the law, however, it is not enforced.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

(I voted at the Colosseum - in and out in a 10 minutes)

Emily Frazier

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Was pleasantly surprised by the short line for precinct 4-8 at Pioneer. I can understand the long lines this morning... it took me forever to fill in the circles even though I'd brought a sample ballot cheat sheet with me. This is the first time I've voted in Michigan-- I'm used to the touch screens which I think make things run much smoother.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

King School - the best ! All the workers were very efficient and the line moved nicely. I was in line about 40 minutes - but since I came prepared to wait, I was pleasantly surprised.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

1-In and out of my polling place in less than....10 minutes...maybe even 8. Smaller town, smaller township. Nice. 2-No on early voting...Somethings can be uncovered in last days before election. Could change an undecided voters decision.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

While it's true that some remain undecided up until Election Day, it's been a long process. The campaign started about 5 minutes after the polls closed in November 2010. By the end of the nominating conventions, I knew who I wanted to vote for, and that hasn't changed through all the hue and cry of the past two months. Early voting is not for undecideds, but that's not all the voting population.

Kelly Miller

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I waited 2 hours to vote at Cobblestone Farms from 10:30 -12:30.

Andrew Kerr

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Salem Elementary (Ward: 00, Precinct: 3) was great - no wait and tons of tables. They had the usual stand-up booths plus a good number of cardboard dividers on tables. They said people kept stealing their pens though and they were running short!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Two hrs and 20 minutes to vote at Lawton Elementary School. Thumbs up to the staff and the very patient people in line, however they should have had a lot more of those cardboard "booths" in the gymnasium. I think there were 8 or 10, when there was room for at least 50.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Admire your perseverance.


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

Precincts that need more voting booths- Pittsfield Twp Hall has about 100 booths out to use, only 5 are being utilized because there is only one official checking people through. I moved to a different booth for every question, because I waited in line for so long and I wanted to get my money's worth.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:57 a.m.

I tried to vote at Precinct 9 at 7:15AM and could not. There was absolutely no place to park. Chaos. I heard it was a two hour wait. I went back 6 hours later and waited a half hour. The election workers are seniors...and well... a little slower then we need. Perhaps a mix of folks a little more vigorous would speed things along. Not sure why they process everyone in a serial fashion rather then parallel. Additionally everyone had to wait in line because both Precinct 7 and 9 use the same door. Where the more populated 9 needed a line and 7 had no reason to line up. Why don't they use a different door for 7 and 9 or a wholly different polling place?

Paula Gardner

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I'm heading over to Pittsfield Elementary right now - and hope that waiting til the middle of the afternoon was a good strategic move.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

I stood in line for 45 minutes - not awful. Apparently one hour earlier was the slowest time. And I was number 833 at my precinct.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

I always vote in mid afternoon and did today. No line at all, in and out in a flash!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Worked for me! Good luck!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

2 PM is always my sweet spot.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

At 10 am some guy knocked his cup of coffee directly into the ballot box at Angell School precinct 4. Guessing he was a Romney supporter who ruined 50 or so Obama votes. The machine was still working so they didn't seem too concerned, although the entry slot had coffee all over the opening.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

"At 10 am some guy knocked his cup of coffee directly into the ballot box at Angell School precinct 4. Guessing he was a Romney supporter " May be when school is in session tomorrow we won't have any comments from children like this.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

I can't figure out whether to vote this up for the on point observation or down for the potential affect it could have on the election. However, thanks for sharing!

Elijah Shalis

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

We just got done voting at Cobblestone Farm where we waited 2 hours.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Agree with PhillyCheeseSteak - the lines at 3-4 and 3-7 were about an hour this morning. Felt like the holdup was voter lookup and ballot assignment. This is the first I've seen laptops and license swiping to find voters and assign numbers. Maybe they needed more than 1 laptop per precinct? When they used paper books there were usually 2 people per precinct. There were often booths empty, but of course we'd need more if checkin was faster.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

I arrived at Clague a little after 7:30 AM today. I was in line about an hour before I was able to vote. Not exactly fast but not the slowest line I've ever been in for a presidential election. I remember waiting a lot longer for the 1992 election at Bach. I seem to remember Mayor Liz Brater showing up to apologize and buy pizza for people stuck in line that year but my memory is a little hazy.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Shout out for all the poll workers today. At my precint they were very helpful and nice. My mom was a polling place worker for 25 years. It's a very long day for them and they bare under a great deal of pressure to get it right and they get a very small amount of money to cover their time. Thank you!

Sarah Rigg

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

I voted in Ypsi Twp. Precinct 11 around 11:30 a.m. It took me about 1.5 hours total from getting in line to putting the ballot in the Diebold machine. A few people were grousing about the wait, but most weren't. They were chatty and excited and exceedingly polite to one another. I saw a young couple with an infant in a sling and an elderly couple, both with walkers, coming out with "I Voted" stickers after the long wait - much admiration for their fortitude! I would suggest that Ypsi Township provide some chairs along the long, snaking line (as they did in the 2008 election) to help people who aren't confined to wheelchairs but who have trouble standing in line for more than an hour. Overall, though, it was great to see all my neighbors out voting. West Willow Represented!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

Just got back from the 4-5 polling place at the "church-o-gogue" on Packard - zero wait time. Just walk up and start filling in the little ovals.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

I voted at Lodi Township polling place (Farm Council Grounds) mid-morning and there wasn't much of a wait at all, at least for my precinct. But, I'd say there were definitely a lot more people than I usually see at a fall election. Also, I think the ballot was unusually long this year with all the proposals and it just took more time for each person to vote. It's too bad they can't find some more voting stations for an election this big.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Some observations on voting today: (1) waited in line for 2 hours from 10:30am-12:30pm to get to vote; (2) lots of people were confused about the voter ID requirements, including the poll workers who only asked for drivers licenses; (3) various non-partisan sample ballots and government web sites did not include everything listed on the ballot for voting (local judges, school board candidates, and some local propositions were missing). I'm a Ph.D. student in political science with a desire to be informed and a flexible schedule and I couldn't crack the system. Time for a new voting rights push.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

jm Here we go with the old disenfranchised bit! Right follow CA's lead they are notorious for getting the numbers wrong and late. Baloney about the drivers license! If anyone is asked for a license and is afraid to say I have a different ID, I suspect they would not be able to negotiate the ballot. Not to mention the affidavit.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

jm I did not find ANY discrepancies between the real ballot and the sample I found on the Ann Arbor web site!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

Certainly a valid concern if poll workers were only asking about driver's license, but did you hear any interaction when a voter couldn't produce a license? My guess is that a high percentage of voters do have the license, so asking for the license first is a kind of shorthand. The real question is, do pollworkers have a script, or demonstrate some familiarity with alternate forms of identification if the voter cannot produce driver's license? You may be leaning a little too hard on the implications of asking for the license first, unless you witnessed someone walking away before being asked, or someone refused the opportunity to vote because they couldn't produce that specific form of identification.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

LDR -- I checked sample ballots in 4 places online: the Michigan SOS, the city of Ann Arbor, MI League of Women Voters, and I realized things were missing because I've been following local news. In spite of my best efforts, there were still races I didn't know about and didn't feel confident voting in when I got my paper ballot. My local and state governments omitted information from their sample ballots and I feel somewhat disenfranchised as a result. Now, I'm relatively privileged and savvy enough to make this kind of effort (and to speak out about it afterwards) -- many others aren't and don't. I imagine they had a much harder time trying to vote than I did. The big point is that government at all levels should be providing clear, fully accurate information and encouraging people to vote, not the opposite. I'd suggest Michigan consider something like California's official voter guide which gets mailed out to all registered voters weeks ahead of election day. The guide includes basic information on all races, the text of ballot measures, non-partisan statements about how propositions might impact the state budget, a limited number of partisan statements, and a complete sample ballot you can fill out in advance and take with you to the polls. The point about drivers licenses is just what GTJ said -- by asking specifically for a drivers license a poll worker implies other ID is not acceptable. Finally, a two-hour wait is not okay. I witnessed people coming to vote and walking away because of the lines. The city itself advised people to go after 10am because lines should have been shortest then. Older people, sick/injured/disable people, working people, pregnant women, and parents can't easily manage that kind of wait to vote. The end result is that it's hard to exercise a basic right -- we should be making it easy.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

@LDR, it implies that other forms of ID are not acceptable. Not only that, you are not actually required to have an ID. You can sign an affidavit stating you are who you say you are. Misinformation such as what JM mentions disenfranchises potential voters.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

It also scares me that you claim to be a Ph.D. candidate in political science....and you had trouble realizing that some sample ballots would not include all the races and propositions? The ONLY place to see a reliable sample ballot is from your local clerk's office. Period. My clerk's office had a complete sample ballot available on-line. And a 2 hour wait for a presidential election is normal in this area...I've been here for 20 + years and have always expected that. I don't like it, but 2 hours seems normal to me. 6 or 8 hours is not (as I once experienced in 1988).


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

I'm confused about your Point # 2..."poll workers who only asked for drivers [sic] licenses;". According to the Michigan government sites...a valid Michgan driver's license with picture qualifies as sufficent Voter ID. What is your problem with "only" driver's licenses?!?


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

There was only ONE person checking people off in Precinct 8 - Pittsfield Twp Hall on Michigan Ave. It was ridiculous, most of the booths were empty and a very long line. Very poor execution! This isn't the way to bring voters out again, Pittsfield!

Chris Goosman

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

At 12:30pm there was no line at all for either Precinct at Webster Twp. Hall. Voting took all of 5 minutes.

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

Noon: At 5-1 (Main Public Library) there was one check-in and 8 stations with about 30 people waiting. I spent maybe 20 minutes in line. Though the really nice thing was the free parking available right at the front door!

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

I got done voting at Scarlett about an hour ago. All said, it took about 1/2 hour, from start to finish. Nowhere near as busy as it was when I tried to vote at 7 AM.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

I waited 1 hour and 15 minutes to vote at Allen School and the line of people waiting was even longer when I left at 11:45 am. It seemed to me that 2 things slowed down the process: 1) it took a long time for 1 worker to "check in" voters and hand out the ballot; 2) a really long ballot. This election was special for me because I went with my son who voted for the first time.

Chris Reagan

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

No line for 5-7 at Dicken Elementary as of ~11:45am, I spent more time filling out my ballot than I did waiting. There's a small line for 4-7 but nothing to worry about, poll workers were efficient and helpful.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

coworker just reported waiting 2.5 hours to vote @ Cobblestone Farms....


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

knowing our precint had more registered voters, one check in seemed slow then add the misread ballots having come back to the same place to get was slow

Holly Richardson

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

I voted at Erickson School in Ypsi Township. The lines were long, but the process was made even longer because no one saw the District 10 signage until they'd already waited in the District 9 line for almost an hour. People were also being placed in the wrong lines. As I left, I was telling people there are two lines and to ask which district line they belonged in, to make sure they didn't make the same mistake. When I got to the table, there were many people waiting for verification because of address changes and the poll workers seemed unsure of how to proceed. It was a frustrating experience, but I finally got my ballot. I spent about an hour and twenty minutes at the polling place total.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Ward 4, prec 4 and 8 at Pioneer High was an 1 hour and 15 min. There were perhaps 10 to 12 voting booths for each precinct and things went smoothly. I was there from about 0920 and left a little after 1030. The lines were as long and maybe a little longer when I left. In 2008, I hit a lull at 1:30 PM and got right in. That was then. Good to see the citizens exercising their right to vote.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

The best thing about election day is the knowledge that political advertisements will be done with.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

But you know we'll see/hear some of those advertisements after today... seems to always happen that along about Friday after the election some ads never got deleted from a non-primetime schedule. But at that point, it's almost like nostalgia, sort of like hearing Debby Boone again.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

And Matty "the maroon" Moroun will slither back under his rock.

greg, too

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

Yes...the ones on the radio for the judges were particularly bad.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

A2 Community Center: Long lines, about 1 1/4 hr to vote, about 11 voting booths, everybody friendly, seemed to be lots of students voting for the first time, was fun to listen to their conversations as they were very excited

Neal Elyakin

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

I waited for over an hour at Forsythe; I saw no one leave, everyone was waiting, chatting with neighbors, enjoying the kids who came with their parents, even the dog who came to support his voter person. The mood was almost festive, at least among the nice folk standing with me. The workers were working hard, opening more stations, answering questions, helping out. Stay calm and vote, everyone!


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 7:10 a.m.

Folks in Pittsfield had to wait over an hour outside in the AM, which at that time was in the low 30's.

Ivor Ivorsen

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Early voting in Michigan anyone?

music to my ear

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

I just like the atmosphere AND I did not complain I live in a small town. seen some old friends.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

It works great, and it does solve the problem of waiting in line/ glitches at the polls. It is called "Absentee Voting." I have been doing it for years. Next time contact the Clerk/ Party administering your polling locale to request your ballot. No postage required if mailed from within the U.S.

greg, too

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

It would solve a lot of problems.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

As I posted in a different thread, much of my wait was due to poll worker incompetence. There were a ridiculously small number of voting booths available. Once they brought more booths (i.e. tables with cardboard partitions) the line started moving much faster. Why they initially thought 6 stations would be anywhere near adequate is beyond me. I encourage anyone waiting in line who notices too few stations to speak up and ask that they bring more out from storage.

rusty shackelford

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

Perhaps you find poll work challenging, but it isn't for the average person. As you yourself said, you just have to follow the rules someone else gives you. As I mentioned in my comment, it was clear that, at least while I was there, the wait was caused by lack of space. The issue was solved immediately when they (quite simply, once they actually did it) gathered more tables and cardboard. At that point, the line began moving at quite a clip (belying your "it's the voters' fault for being slow" argument) Those other issues are certainly a factor generally speaking, but not in this case. Also, I was there at 7am, so I doubt they'd been working for 12 hours at that point. I do appreciate the hard work of the woman who saw that voter lines were not moving and took the time to resolve the issue. The other duffs? Meh. Swiping my ID into a computer isn't really all that hard.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

"Poll worker incompetence"... you've probably never actually tried working one of these elections have you, Rusty? If you had, you'd be more sympathetic. There are strict voting rules and guidelines these good folks must follow. Blame the lack of the "booths" on the City Clerk's Office, not these good workers. It's a long 12+ hour shift dealing with people who are voting for the first time, people who haven't bothered to study the ballot beforehand, people who accidentally mess up their ballot, and people like you who have no appreciation for the hard work these folks are doing. Next time apply for an absentee ballot and stay at home.

David Cahill

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Many potential voters left the precinct 1-5 after seeing the long lines. They said they would be back. I expect some will not be back. Inability to serve voters promptly cuts voter turnout, which harms all of us.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 7:08 a.m.

Agree David, with a little bit more planning and a little bit more care the process could move faster. In Pittsfield the whole process bottleneck revolved around the use of ONE laptop. only ONE? The addition of one more laptop could double the speed of the line. What am I missing here?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

David, I have to disagree with you; I think they will indeed be back. The poll workers there said they've never seen so many people turn out to vote, and that was at 4:00. Have faith in the Northside peeps - we care enough about democracy to wait in line for it!

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

If you won't make the time to vote on election day (which is constitutionally mandated by the way) you shouldn't vote. We are all busy, we all have commitments. Next time, plan ahead and use an absentee ballot if you have a valid reason. This craze of making voting "easy" and identification free is a recipe for voter fraud.

David Frye

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Why don't we have early voting in Michigan? If they can do it in Ohio...


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

Does anyone else consider how making voting inconvenient or discouraging for some people tend to skew the results?

greg, too

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

I was there with my two year old son and saw lots of people with multiple kids with them, in slings or strollers, etc. One lady had a newborn in a sling in front of her and two kids in a stroller. I am aware that people have more difficult schedules than I do, but this is too important not to schedule out some time to do it. And we've had 4 years to find a babysitter or ask the boss for some time off. Hopefully employers are helping by giving people leeway on coming in late or late lunch breaks, etc. But take a look on CNN at the people in Miami and other places....there are people standing in line for 2, 3, 4 hours just to vote. It sucks all around, but it's is our responsibility to vote. But I do agree with other posters that we need to figure out an early voting system to alleviate some of the gridlock at the polls.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

greg, too -- you need to keep in mind that some people have jobs and other responsibilities that make it very difficult for them to take 90 minutes out of the day to vote. i agree with David that we need to keep voting as accessible as possible. while i would hope that everyone would make voting a top priority, i think that in a place like ann arbor, where people seem to work very flexible schedules, it may be hard to remember that some folks work 12 hour days, multiple jobs, have 30 minute lunch breaks, babies to take care of, etc...


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

You have to admire the folks who wait in line and not complain. Be patient. My wait as over 1 hr 15 min and that was at 0930. Maybe I was lucky.

greg, too

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

If a person is too busy to wait in line for 20-40-60 minutes or fails to plan ahead to vote when lines are smaller, then they obviously don't take the process very seriously. But i'm sure some of those same people who left wouldn't have a problem waiting in line on black friday for a couple hours for a cheap tv or some useless trinket. It's your duty as a citizen to vote, so stand in line with the rest of us and stop whining. Or vote absentee.

David Cahill

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

I am extremely disappointed at the long lines. Election officials knew, or should have known, that voters would take longer to vote than normal, and should have provided more of the very cheap voting stations. At Northside School, where I was passing out lit for Carol Kuhnke and Bridget Mary McCormack, precinct 1-5 voters had to wait over an hour in line. At the same school, precinct 1-6 voters had no line at all. Such problems should not occur.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

I agree with David. There have been too many long waits, as an hour or two has been common in Ann Arbor. It has been worse elsewhere. There are so many easy, well known ways to make voting easier. Why has Michigan not implemented them?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Very well said YpsiVeteran.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Yeah, what a shame that so many people are taking their civic responsibilities so seriously and have shown up to vote. What a huge "problem." It's not like anyone's died or anything in order to guarantee us the right and privilege to stand in line to cast our ballots. What an abomination that we all-important Americans with our busy busy lives had to stand in line, most likely indoors, most likely without any threat of death or physical harm, in order to vote in an election for president of our country. Do you even hear yourself?

greg, too

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Precinct 3 in Ypsi Township, line was about 20 minutes long. People were nice and friendly, some talked to my 2 year old son, others were just pleasant and it all went smoothly. If standing in line for 20 minutes is what it costs to vote, that works for me.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

To all the naysayers the other day it looks like keeping the kids home from school is a good idea. And while i am on my soapbox, vot for Michael Woodyard for Circuit Court Judge!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

My polling station was at the A2 Assembly of God and I got up 15 minutes earlier today to be there in line at 6:50am. I was 30th in line and got finished voting and left at 7:27. The ballot was lengthy, and it took a few moments, but it was worth it. I hear about craziness happening at other large city polling stations in various States, and it's just a shame that voting cannot be as calm, pleasant and orderly like I experienced this morning.

Alex Swary

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

I was going to vote this morning before work at the community center on Ellsworth. The line was way too long and I would have been super late to work, so I'll go after work this evening when I can wait in line as long as I have to. Seems like an inconvenient place to vote though. People were parking in the Tyner furnature lot and jaywalking across Ellsworth in morning rush hour traffic.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Always good to know that folks are too lazy to actually cross at the light. . .as the nanny state crowd sees yet another place for a local law mandatory stop pedestrian crosswalk (which will be generally unused anyway. . .)


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

I arrived at precinct 5-2 (Bach Elementary) at 6:50am and there were about 40 people in line. Things went smoothly - any delays were due to booths being occupied, not due to any of the election workers. The "tech monitor" came by to make sure the technology was working and said she was going to be stopping at all of the polling places throughout the day. There were a couple of people who had spoiled ballots because they voted for too many people in some areas, and they looked pretty bummed that they had to go back and fill it all out again. When I left at 7:30 there were more than 100 people in line.

David Frye

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

I got to Bach at 8:35 and the line was out the door. I cast my vote at 9:45, and the line was just as long when I left as it had been when I got there. (But I bet that most people in 5-2 are voting early -- lines tend to be shorter there in the afternoon and evening, in most elections.)


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

I am glad so many people are voting! I'd rather it take longer than have no line because people weren't voting.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Line is out the door at 11:20 am. Maybe later..... :(


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

I voted at Scio Community Church on Zeeb Rd. at about 7:30 this morning. I felt a little odd about voting in a church, but I understand the need for accessable locations. Anyway, I waited about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the election officials were polite and efficient.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

@Red - thanks for that clarification. I knew there was a logical explanation.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

A church building is, first and foremost, a building. The symbols and gewgaws that are housed there have the significance that you invest in them... without your investment, they're just so much bric-a-brac. I don't think the congregations have any expectation that those who enter to vote will necessarily convert to their creed. And Brad, I think that the New Testament holds sway on Tuesdays in odd-numbered months at Genesis; the Old Testament takes over in even-numbered months. If Leap Day falls on a Tuesday, it's a free day, for all the free-thinkers.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

I voted in a church today and it was strange. Never had to do that before. I don't like it because its not enough separation of church and state for me. Not a big fan of standing beside a cross while I'm waiting to vote. This is my first time voting in Michigan. Does Michigan have a higher proportion of using churches as polling places? I've lived in many states and never heard of this.

Sarah Rigg

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Courts have generally said it's ok to have polls in places of worship BUT the area chosen should be "free of religious imagery." People have the right to complain to local officials and ask for a change of venue to a secular/public building. The FFRF has some information on the issue here:


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

@arbor - not directed at you - just kidding about our "church-o-gogue".


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

Hello Brad. I didn't say I didn't like it. It was just an odd experience for me, that's all. My goodness.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

If you don't like voting at houses of worship don't move to our neighborhood - we vote at the combo church/synagogue on Packard. I'm not sure which applies on Tuesdays, though.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Hi Kyle. Some of the political issues that I feel strongly about are considered immoral/incorrect/what have you by some religious denominations (specifically the support of gay marriage and women's reproductive rights). It was just weird for me to vote in a church. I wasn't trying to incite a debate about right and wrong, however.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

@Kyle, I have no problem voting in a church as I voted at the A2 Assembly of God this morning, as well as in the past 3 elections. And I'm Buddhist. :)

Tom Todd

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Kyle, Maybe with god looking it's hard to hate on your neighbor

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Hi arborlib- You bring up something that I've seen more conversation about in recent year. Care to elaborate a bit more on your thoughts regarding voting in churches? To other readers, do you feel the same way?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Kudos to the folks at the MIchigan Union (W1-P1&2). It took me 5 minutes to votes

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Caption should read Forsythe Middle School, NOT Slauson Middle School. I know, I was there.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Poll workers at Dicken Elementary (4-7 amd 5-7) were very organized and efficient this morning. Long lines early, of course, but very well managed.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

I had the same experience at Lawton at around 8:30 am.

Ben Connor Barrie

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Top picture in the article looks like Forsythe Middle School (Ward 5-Precinct 11) not Slauson Middle School as it says in the caption.

Bob Needham

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Ben Connor Barrie, you are right. Thanks for pointing that out. The caption has been corrected.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3 p.m.

a lot of the schools look alike, didn't have designer architects for each school back in the day.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

The line for the 4th District/Ward for Ypsilanti was ridiculous! I got there just after 7 and it took two hours. Why? There were only 16 polling stations and 1/2 a dozen staff! Last Presidential election there were over 50 polling stations. Has anyone else noticed a reduction?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Four years ago they had about 25 more people working for the city than they do now., that's why. What did you expect?

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

If anyone has photos they'd like to share from their polling location please submit it using the form found here: or tweet us a photos using our election day hashtag #a2votes

Morris Thorpe

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

>>"A bigger one would be nice, I guess," Miller said. "I see kids come by here a lot, so it'd be nice to get a bigger one for them."<< Sorry but I LOL'd at that quote. To think someone else spent time reading and researching and considering.....ha!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

It took me about 50 minutes to wait and then vote in Superior Twp this morning. I arrived at my polling place around 7:05. The process of handing out ballots was much slower than usual; perhaps the poll workers are being extra careful or perhaps the several new ones are just not practiced enough yet. The waiting voters were all cheerful and polite to each other, which always makes me happy and proud to live in the USA.

Dog Guy

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

It's 8:39 a.m.. Have the networks called the Ohio results yet?

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Probably MSLSD.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

According to most news channels last night, Ohio will determine who is President and Obama was in the lead according to recent polls. So, no need to vote, eh?!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Tom, Can you cite your source?

Tom Todd

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Faux news has declared Romney the winner


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

The lines at Pioneer are 1hr long. Theres also a guy right outside the doors passing out "yes on 6" flyers. What a dishonest campaign.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

The guy handing out the same flier at my polling place appeared to be a hired gun who knew nothing about Proposal 6. A dishonest campaign indeed.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

At least long lines indicate people are voting! By the way, Michigan law forbids the display or distribution of any political or campaign material, including fliers, buttons, T-shirt or stickers in support of or against any candidate near polling places. You must keep this material beyond 100 feet of the entrance to any polling place. It would be interesting to know what exactly is meant by the "entrance" (into the building or into the room where the voting takes place).

Mary Keeley

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

They were awfully close to Tappan this morning too. (the yes on 6) We thought it was too close but were not sure if the distance was from the door to the building or the room I was a little short when she tried to stop me on my way to work

David Frye

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Make that "Maroun's goons." A campaign bought and paid for by the most special of special interests.


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

I put up a tiny 'No on 6' sign, and by the time I finished voting, the Prop. 6 goons had taken it down. And admitted to doing so! Looks like it won't pass -- here's hoping anyway.


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

call the police, that is illegal for him to be doing. 100ft from door.