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By Kim North Shine
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Voting difficulties, from malfunctioning ballot scanners to inept poll workers, are being reported at polling places throughout Michigan.

According to Election Protection, a nationwide, nonpartisan voter protection coalition, the problems at some polling places are resulting in long lines, some lasting two hours, causing some voters to leave without casting a ballot.

Election Protection’s information comes from complaints made to its hot line, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, its Web site. www.ourvote.org, and from the group’s polling place volunteers.

As of 11 a.m. complaints from Michigan voters had come from 13 cities.

They were Detroit, Battle Creek, Auburn Hills, Three Rivers, Redford, Taylor, Burton, Muskegon, Grosse Pointe Woods, Warren, Lapeer, New Baltimore and Tecumseh.

“Many voters are angry and unaware of the legality of the recourse being offered by poll workers. In many cases, poll workers are asking voters to cast their ballot on paper and they will count them later,” an e-mail update from Election Protection said. “Some voters are being asked to vote on paper with magic markers.”

The Grosse Pointe Woods City Clerk Lisa Hathaway said the complaint about voting difficulties in her city was the result of two malfunctioning ballot tabulators, one at Mason Elementary School, the other at Ferry Elementary School. The machines were rejecting ballots, but began accepting them again when a blocking device was removed, she said.

“They were down for about an hour, and the problem was fixed,” Hathaway said. “The voting process never stopped.”

While the lines at those polling places were long, it was more about high turnout than the broken machines, she said.

“We followed the definition of election law and everything was resolved,” she said. “The good thing is people are coming out to have their voices heard. And they are being heard. This is a very good thing.”

The Auburn Hills City Clerk’s Office said it was not aware of any voting problems.

Come back to www.freep.com for updates.

Contact KIM NORTH SHINE at 313-223-4557 or at kshine@freepress.com.

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