Fewer Detroiters expected to vote than 4 years ago
Detroit is projected to have markedly fewer voters participate in Tuesday’s election than four years ago, Clerk Janice Winfrey said Thursday.
Winfrey said she expects a 13 percent to 18 percent of the city’s about 470,000 registered voters to turn out for the upcoming general election, which includes races for mayor, clerk and all city council districts. It would amount to large drop from 2013, when a little more than 25 percent of Detroit’s voters showed up to cast ballots.
Winfrey’s office indicated it has distributed just over 32,000 absentee ballots. Its estimate would mean 61,000 to almost 85,000 voters overall would participate.
A better-trained force of poll workers are set to administer the Nov. 7 election, Winfrey said, one year after her office came under fire for ballot mishaps that prevented a recount at some precincts.
Winfrey said during a Thursday news conference that 3,000 poll workers have been assigned to voting locations throughout the city.
Poll workers received “hands-on” training, she said, including a dry run of how to set up a precinct within 15 minutes and learn every role at the polling location. Poll supervisors are also training quarterly now as opposed to once before the election.
“They know how to solve all problems at the precincts,” Winfrey said.
A state audit released in February revealed that an “abundance of human errors” caused mismatched vote totals that resulted in 216 questionable votes, a development that put Detroit in the national spotlight.
“That let us know, we needed to beef up training and we have,” Winfrey said.
Winfrey has also touted the new voting machines Detroit received earlier this year which election officials say are more efficient.
She said earlier this year that the machines have larger screens that show voters and poll workers when a ballot has been accepted and counted. If there are issues with the ballot, the screen will alert the user.
The machine also has larger bins to hold every ballot, which will minimize jamming issues, officials say.