IV. Primary Updates
Hawaii: Hawaii’s primary is next week, but officials are encouraging as many voters to vote early because of an impending hurricane. Although the path of the storm in not certain, an oncoming hurricane is just one more natural disaster that elections officials in the Aloha State have had to factor into this year’s primary.
Kansas: Sen. Oletha Faust Goudou (D-Wichita) and the ranking member of the Senate Elections Committee said that Tuesday’s election was her “worst voting experience ever,” in Sedgwick County. In Johnson County, the states most populous county, voters found problems at the polls early in the morning with some of the county’s new voting machines not working. The early morning delay had a trickle-down effect with some polling places staying open late and delaying the reporting of results. “I’m embarrassed for our county,” Johnson County election commissioner Ronnie Metsker told the Kansas City Star. “Our county is not accustomed to having this kind of event. It’s embarrassing for our office, it’s embarrassing for me, for our team and for the vendor.” In the race for secretary of state, Republican Scott Schwab will face off against Democrat Brian McClendon in November.
Michigan: Many Michigan counties and towns saw the first major roll out of new voting systems and things did not go as planned in some areas. There were ballot shortages on Oakland County and in Grand Rapids. In Jackson County, a millage proposal was left off of some ballots. The power went out in at least 15 Detroit polling places. Also in Detroit, some voters said they were never informed about a polling place relocation. Votes in one Genesse County precinct could not be counted. Results were delayed in Wexford County because of vote-counting issues. Results were also delayed in Monroe County. Officials in Wayne County blamed late results on technical problems with a website created to present vote counts in an interactive map. It was issues with computer modems in various municipalities that delayed the results in Ionia County. In the race to replace embattled Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger, Democrat Fred Miller will face Lisa Sinclair. According to early numbers, voter turnout exceeded 27 percent, which is the most people to vote in any Michigan primary — midterm or presidential — since 1978.
Missouri: A lot of strange and unique things happen on election days and sometimes it seems like we’ve heard them all, but this was a new one for electionline. On Tuesday, a group of GOP poll workers at a polling place in Berkeley left for lunch and got lost and failed to return. When that happened, the Democratic poll workers shut down the polling place and turned away voters. “It was just like a comedy of errors,” St. Louis County’s Democratic Election Director Eric Fey told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is unclear how many people were turned away during the 45 minutes it took to get more Republican poll workers to the school, which also had three Democratic poll workers on site. Voters in at least one Kansas City polling place reported that when they turned over their two-sided ballot, the back side of the ballot was already complete. There were scattered power outages on election day including in Jackson County, but none of those outages prevented voters from casting their ballots. Voters in Greene County experienced delays of up to 90 minutes while waiting to cast a ballot. The delay was blamed on higher than expected turnout. Although overall reporting was timely, Boone County had some issues getting their absentee vote tallies complete. While there were scattered issues throughout the day, there were no reported problems with the implementation of the state’s voter ID law.
Tennessee: Overall, the August primary went well throughout much of the Volunteer State. There were the usual minor issues, like power outages and bad weather, but some counties like Rutherford and Sullivan saw record turnout. In Cheatham County, results were delayed due to a countywide shut down of the election system. And delayed results in Shelby County brought renewed calls for new voting equipment. In Wilson County, two races for county commissioner ended in a tie. If the races remain tied after the election is certified, the county commission will either choose a winning candidate or make a new election part of the November 6 general. Although it didn’t end in a tie, the race for vice mayor in Nashville was close enough to trigger a runoff, which will cost the city about $750,000.
Washington: Washington, which is all vote-by-mail, had a primary. And that's all we have to report!