Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Big turnout, a few trouble spots, mark election day

Tuesday, November 2, 2004


Lines were long - but voters for the most part were long on patience - as Michiganders headed to the polls on a rain-soaked morning.

Police were summoned to one Detroit voting center to quell a dispute between voters and poll watchers. Voting continued despite the distrubance.

Turnout was expected to be heavy, but not much more so than in the 2000 presidential election.

Lines formed at polling places even before they opened at 7 a.m. As voting began, Republican challengers monitored voters in overwhelmingly Democratic Detroit, while challengers from liberal organizations kept watch on voters in some Republican strongholds.

Elections officials reported few problems in the early going. But in Detroit, voters said they encountered some broken ballot machines at a handful of precincts. And a power outage disrupted voting at some precincts in Highland Park, voters said.

Tempers flared at one Detroit polling place, a church on the city?s northwest side, when white Republican challengers from Grand Rapids showed up to monitor long lines of mostly black voters.

Police officers were summoned to the Unity Temple of the Apostolic Faith on Wyoming, and the Democratic Party dispatched a handful of its own monitors lawyers wearing bright-orange vests after voters and poll workers complained about the Republican challengers.

A voter claimed she was shoved by one of the young Republican men. A poll worker also alleged she was kicked in the shin by a challenger. One of the Republican monitors said he was treated rudely as voters cast their ballots at the four precincts voting at the church, and another felt so harassed he left. Another challenger clutched a Holy Bible but would not discuss the situation.

Andrew O?Neill, a 20-year-old Republican and college student, said the group of challengers left Grand Rapids in a van at 3 a.m. Tuesday to come to Detroit.

Five of them arrived at the church where, O?Neill said, they found elections workers ?being unreasonable.??

He said one of the challengers was harassed and ?he had to leave. He didn?t feel comfortable.?? O?Neill said ?people in line were cussing?? at him.

Chaeeda Elmore, a 24-year-old poll worker from Detroit, said she was kicked in the shin by a challenger.

She said he was ?very rude.??

Church deacon Gene Claxton said the scene was chaotic as police arrived.

?It was disruptive to the voting process,?? he said.

Pastor Lloyd West of Believing Church of God in Christ in Detroit said he was not intimidated by the Republican challengers as he voted.

?Their intent was to intimidate,?? West said. ?The idea of what they were trying to do offended me more than anything. It didn?t change my vote.??

Teresa Nelson said she accompanied her 18-year-old daughter to the polling station at Unity Temple when one of the Republicans challenged Michele Nelson?s identification.

Michele Nelson was there to vote for the first time and came with her school identification. That wasn?t enough, the challenger whispered to poll workers. They agreed. The Nelsons left, fetched Michele?s birth certificate at home and her report card from school, and applied for a state identification card at the Secretary of State.

The secretary of state?s office took their application for Michele?s identification card, and the application was good enough for poll workers when they returned to the church so that Michele could vote.

Her mother said Michele is very petit and could pass for 12 years old, and she believes that is why she was challenged. She said the experience convinced her daughter that her vote ?really will make a difference.??

Kelly Chesney, a spokesperson for Michigan Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land, said that cool, rainy weather in Michigan had not dampened voters and a heavy turn out is expected.

?Voting is going pretty well,?? Chesney said. ?We?re seeing a healthy turnout.??

Chesney said there were a few problems reported to the Secretary of State office by voters who said they were challenged by poll watchers from a group called MoveOn.org, a liberal group.

?Grand Rapids, Lansing, Milford, Dearborn, Troy; all complaints about MoveOn.org,?? Chesney said.

Poll watchers are allowed to monitor the process in the public viewing area, but cannot wear items with political messages. No campaigning is allowed within 100 feet of a polling precinct.

?It?s unfortunate because we want voters to be comfortable in the polling place,?? Chesney said.

The Michigan secretary of state predicted about 4.5 million of the state's 7.16 million registered voters would cast ballots. That would be about 63 percent of registered voters, or about same percentage as voted in 2000 during the presidential election.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!