Polling places are reportedly running out of ballots in Michigan today, complicating a critical primary that was predicted to have a record turnout.
Despite the fact that county clerks, the media, and just about everyone else predicted this situation, the primaries in Michigan were chaotic. Grand Rapids even ordered additional ballots, expecting a 25% increase.
Grace Emmanuel, which is precinct 49 in Flint, ran out of ballots for an undetermined amount of time according to NBC25. Flint City Clerk Inez Brown delivered more ballots to that location.
A representative for Mayor Karen Weaver told reporters that, “The Mayor’s Office is aware that some precincts ran out of ballots today. While Mayor Weaver has no control over the conduct of elections, she is very concerned. We have been attempting to reach the Clerk to find out why it happened. We do know additional ballots were provided to those precincts ASAP.”
Local station WZZM also reported that a lack of ballots at Plainfield Township precinct No. 3, The Ambrose Ridge Apartments. WZZM’s David Bailey reported a “miscommunication between the Kent County clerk’s office and this particular precinct,” saying the ballots which were meant for the precinct were accidentally re-routed to another location.
Some people were turned away at the polls while the station was without ballots for two hours, while others waited so that they could vote.
The turnout in Michigan was higher for today’s primary than it has been in decades, according to county clerks.
In Grand Rapids, the city clerk is expecting a 25-28% voter turnout when all is said and done. By 2 p.m., 26,000 votes had already been processed, which would be about a 20% turnout among eligible voters. In 2008, Grand Rapids saw a 24% turnout.
The stakes are high in the Michigan primary, with 130 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic primary. Clinton is expected to sweep most of the Mississippi primary delegates, and Sanders will need to win to close the delegate gap between himself and Clinton.
Sanders reportedly said, “if there is a large turnout, we are going to win here in Michigan,” and higher turnouts have favored himconsiderably in the race thus far.