I stood in line a little over an hour to vote in yesterday’s Presidential Election 2016, and I can honestly tell you that voter suppression tactics in the battleground state of Michigan was in full force. The powers that be worked their magic to try to discourage Michigan residents from voting.
Crowded polling sites. There are four precincts at my polling site. I vote at a church of a nice size but it is not large enough to hold a crowd we all know and expect on Election Day. Some stood in line for a long time before realizing they were actually in the wrong line. It was very crowded, and not only did voters threaten to leave, some actually left. I am sure there was a poll supervisor somewhere in the mix, but said person was in dire need of assistance with crowd control.
It was so catastrophic at my polling site that I would have about-faced with a quickness, and went home had I not been the strong person that I am. I walked inside and had to ask several people whose line they were standing in just to find the line for my precinct. There is no such thing as a straight line, by the way. They all wrap around here, there, and everywhere.
Additional polling sites need to be put in place because it is ridiculous to have that many precincts in one room. Did I mention that some sites has 5 precincts?
Some of the schools were closed yesterday, others remained open. I am referring to schools that serve as polling sites. I feel that all schools should be closed on Election Day and be used as polling sites. The middle school and high school in my district both have two gyms. Those are excellent polling sites.
By the way, schools that are polling sites and remain open on Election Day is dangerous, a safety issue. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of strangers entering in and out of schools to vote. But if I want to drop my kids lunch off at school on a random school day, I have to get buzzed in.
Not enough polling stations. I noticed over the past few elections that my precinct always have the longest line on Election Day. So it is upsetting to see that there were only seven polling stations per precinct. I am sure you are wondering how I know all of this if the place was crowded. Well that’s easy, I am an observant person. Anyway, one of the election workers set up an additional polling station while I was in line. Voters received their ballots and walked right past it because there was not a light attached to it. It would have been difficult to read the ballot in the dimly lit room.
Older workers. The poll workers are usually old. Those lines moved so slow yesterday because all the workers were elderly, especially at my precinct. It took the lady nearly forever to tear the bottom portion of the ballot off and you could hear voters sigh loudly. My precinct always has the longest line so I knew in advance what I was in for when I saw the workers were all old.
One thing I was thankful for is the worker that greeted voters at the door. He yelled out that you could just go over to your precinct if you already knew it. He also handed out voter applications. Receiving that application was a great time saver because it was already filled out by the time you got to the table.
Broken ballot machines. The machines that you feed your ballot into kept breaking down at some polling sites. Voters didn’t have a long wait time to vote, but they waited nearly an hour for the machine to accept their ballots after several tries.
No early voting. I know a lady whose work shift begins at 8:00 a.m. She showed up at her polling site when it opened at 7. The line was moving slow and she was not allowed to move ahead. She ended up leaving without voting so she wouldn’t be late for work. There are a lot of registered voters that are unable to vote because their jobs are a good distance from their homes. They drive at least an hour one-way to and from work.
Michigan does not offer early voting. We have absentee voting but there are strict requirements.
I was voter #179 at precinct 7 in Flint Township, Michigan yesterday. Michigan really needs to make the voting process easier to encourage registered Michigan voters to get out and vote instead of discouraging them.
But then again, Michigan is a battleground state. Battleground means a place or situation of conflict. I love challenges which explains why I love my battleground state of Michigan, and I am always ready to tackle its’ wild and crazy voter suppression tactics.