Expect long waits come Election Day due to absence of straight ticket voting in Michigan

Posted at 10:37 AM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 13:34:42-04

Voters appear eager to cast ballots after a primary season that saw the highest number of voters in Michigan in at least 40 years. That means long lines and longer waits, according to Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, who warned that the absence of straight ticket voting means voting during a lunch break is likely impossible.

“I’m encouraging people to make an election day plan now,” said Brown. “If you do not qualify to get an absentee ballot, make a plan because you won’t be able to fit it in on a break.”

In August, Oakland County garnered extra attention in the days following the election. Polling stations in Farmington Hills, Oak Park, Pontiac and West Bloomfield were among the communities where ballots ran out — Brown, following an investigation, said the high numbers paired with spoiled ballots led to issues. Specifically, people tried to vote for both parties in various races, a practice known as “split ticket” that isn’t allowed in primary elections in Michigan.

“We had a lot of spoiled ballots because people forgot — or didn’t know — that they had to vote within one party. In November you can cross parties all you want, but people will want to pay attention so you know how many people you can vote for in each race.”

Meanwhile, there is a push to protect voting information after questions of security following the 2018 election cycle. ProPublica has reported that Michigan is set to spend more than $5 million on cybersecurity from its share of grant money allocated by the federal government to improve and secure election systems.

As for voters, it’s business as usual — debates are happening now, and sample ballots are already posted online. You can find yours online here.