The Ann Arbor Chronicle » Aug. 5 2014 it's like being there Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:59:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Primary Election Day: Aug. 5, 2014 Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:37:51 +0000 Chronicle Staff As we have for the past few years, The Chronicle will be touring Ann Arbor polling stations on Election Day and providing updates throughout the day. Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

At 6:30 a.m. the  lawn outside the Slauson Middle School polls was bristling with campaign yard signs just outside the 100-foot limit.

At 6:30 a.m. the lawn outside the Slauson Middle School polls was bristling with campaign yard signs just outside the 100-foot limit.

City of Ann Arbor voters will have a choice of four candidates for mayor in the Democratic primary, all of whom are current members of the city council: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3).

The Democratic primary also offers voters actively contested races in three of five wards.  The Ward 1 race features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams. The Ward 2 city council race features Kirk Westphal and Nancy Kaplan. This year’s Ward 3 contest features Julie GrandBob Dascola and Samuel McMullen, who are all competing for the seat that Christopher Taylor is leaving in order to run for mayor.

There are no contested Republican primaries for any of city offices. The winner of the Democratic mayoral primary will face independent Bryan Kelly  in the fall.

For for the countywide judicial races, which are non-partisan, voters have a choice of three candidates for circuit court judge: Pat ConlinVeronique Liem and Michael Woodyard. For probate judge, voters have a choice of five candidates: Jane BassettTamara GarwoodConstance JonesTracy Van den Bergh and recently appointed judge Julia Owdziej. In each of those races the top two vote getters will advance to the November general election.

Not sure where to vote? To find your polling place and view a sample ballot for your precinct, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

Below is a timestamped log of The Chronicle’s observations from the field as we tour the polls. A dynamic map is also provided so that readers can track our progress geographically.

A comment thread is open, so that readers can log their own observations made during their visit to the polls. 

Polling locations indicated in red are those not yet visited. Those locations indicated in green have been visited by The Chronicle. The locations are clickable; a click reveals the field note recorded at that location.



7:13 a.m. 1-10 (Arrowwood Hills Comm Center 2566 Arrowwood Trl.) Don Adams, the Ward 1 council candidate who lives in Arrowwood Hills, arrives just before the polls open here to set up just beyond the 100-foot sign beyond which campaigning can not occur. He plans to stay here all day. “This is my family,” he says. He’s brought rain gear – it’s starting to sprinkle. Inside the polling station, one of the first voters is Eric Sturgis – a campaign worker for incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy. He’s here to vote, but complains that the 100-foot sign isn’t in the right location – it’s too close to the polls. Two poll workers head out to move it.

7:13 a.m. 5-2 (Bach School 600 W. Jefferson St.) Voter number one. One poll worker reports that this is the first time she’s worked the polls in a few years – so it’s her first experience with the electronic poll books. It takes three swipes of my driver’s license to get the computer to recognize it. The only poll greeter here is from the Julia Owdziej campaign.

7:39 a.m. 1-5 and 1-6 (Northside School 912 Barton Dr.) Due to construction at Northside, the polling station has been relocated to a different part of the building. When I arrive, a poll worker is placing more signs to direct voters to the new entrance. Ballot counting machines are acting hinky – one poll worker speculates that it’s because of the humidity. For precinct 1-5, ballots are being put into an emergency ballot bin. A poll worker explains to each voter how ballots will be eventually counted with two inspectors present – one Democrat, one Republican. Also, one voter ends up with two ballots stuck together, and poll workers sort out how to handle that. Jason Frenzel arrives; he’s stewardship coordinator for the Huron River Watershed Council, voting before he heads to work.

7:56 a.m. 1-8 (Skyline High School 2552 N. Maple Rd.) Voter 18 arrives. Worker from the city of Ann Arbor IT department arrives to check that the laptop computer for the electronic pollbook is working properly. Poll workers offer him donuts. Poll greeters at Skyline are two in number – both from the Julia Owdziej campaign. Darren McKinnon, member of the now-completed (last year) North Main Huron River task force, arrives to vote with his family. A voter mis-votes by accidentally voting in both Democratic and Republican primaries. Poll workers go through the spoiled ballot procedure. Voter folds the ballot in half and places it in the envelope designated for a spoiled ballot.

8:09 a.m. 1-9 and 2-6 (Clague Middle School 2616 Nixon Rd.) Got caught in a downpour. Someone who appears to be a campaign worker is standing outside under an umbrella, but his jacket obscures what campaign he’s with. Inside, there are a few voters, but it’s not crowded – even though two precincts are here. So far 21 voters have been through for 1-9. Another 23 people have voted in 2-6. A poll worker is using duct tape to try to hang the American flag on a window. It doesn’t work, and is taken down, folded up and returned to its box.

8:31 a.m. 2-9 (Thurston School 2300 Prairie St.) On leaving Clague, more campaign workers are here – for Don Adams and Veronique Liem. Also, candidate Julia Owdziej is passing out lit. She plans to be there off and on all day. A few blocks away at Thurston, voter 28 is former Ward 2 city councilmember Stephen Rapundalo, with one of his four daughters. He notes that in Canada, where he grew up, turnout is around 90%. Snacks for poll workers include potato chips and oatmeal cookies.

8:41 a.m. 1-4 (Community Center 625 N. Main St.) Correction to previous note about the spoiled ballot. It was spoiled because of overvoting in a judicial race, not cross voting in the primary. On leaving Skyline I ran into Democratic Party chair Mike Henry, who was acting as a poll greeter for the Ward 1 council Don Adams campaign. A poll greeter for Adams’ campaign is here at the Ann Arbor Community Center polling location as well. One voter reports that he’s heard on the radio that turnout is expected to be the worst ever. Voter count here is 24, with three in process.

8:57 a.m. 1-3 (Community High School 401 N. Division) Poll greeter for the Veronique Liem campaign reports that in the last 45 minutes, only one voter has visited the Community High School polling location. The total since the polls opened is five, according the poll workers inside. A text received from a colleague working the polls at the Michigan Union reports that only one person has voted there so far. “We are crushing him!” is the conclusion from the Commie High poll workers.

8:58 a.m. 2-8 (First United Methodist Church 1001 Green Road) Voter 39 comes in with her toddler, a cute tow-headed boy who gets a lot of attention from poll workers. One worker has brought a library book to kill time: “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini. The polling station here is in the church sanctuary, with large windows on three sides overlooking a wooded area – perhaps the most bucolic location for voters in the city.

9:20 a.m. 5-1 (Ann Arbor District Library 343 S. Fifth Ave.) Polling location here at the Ann Arbor District Library has been moved for today’s election from the usual location in the lower level – because the elevator is out of commission and is being completely reconstructed. So the polling location is set up on the ground floor towards the south side of the building. The accommodations are a bit crammed amongst the stacks. Poll worker suggests that the outside garden area – with a window onto the polling location – would be a good vantage point. She is right, until it begins to sprinkle. There have been 17 voters at this location.

9:25 a.m. 2-7 (King School 3800 Waldenwood Ln) Outside of FUMC, judicial candidate Connie Jones is standing by her car. As we’re chatting, one of her supporters arrives and gives her a hug. Now at King Elementary, and there’s a steady flow of voters – 49 so far. One voter ventures that the election for mayor will essentially be decided today. A poll worker cautions that political talk is not allowed in the polling place, and points out that this primary will determine the Democratic candidate who’ll be on the ballot in November, running against an independent.

9:40 a.m. 3-1 and 3-2 (Michigan League 911 N. University) Poll workers venture on arrival that they hope I have a crossword puzzle to work on. Two precincts here – one of which has had one voter and the other 12 voters so far. These precincts have high concentrations of students. As I am packing up to leave, another voter arrives.

9:56 a.m. 2-3 and 2-4 (Angell School 1608 S. University) Voter count here is 68 for 2-4 and 12 at 2-3. Poll greeter outside is working for the Liem and the Van den Bergh campaigns. She reports that she went door-to-door canvassing with Liem for the last three presidential campaigns. She ventures that Van den Bergh’s mother is passing out literature on the other side of the school building.

10:00 a.m. 2-1 and 1-7 (Northwood Comm Cntr (Family Housing) 1000 McIntyre Dr.) For the first three hours of election day, fewer than 20 voters have shown up in total at the two precincts here, which are crammed into a relatively small room. The designated public area is on one side of a table set up in the middle of the room. I don’t stay long. There are no campaign workers outside – in fact, I haven’t seen a single volunteer for any of the mayoral candidates at the seven polling stations I’ve visited so far.

10:16 a.m. 2-2 (Palmer Commons 100 Washtenaw Ave.) Just one voter so far. “I am excited about the one,” reports one poll worker. While I’m here another voter arrives. Squeals of happiness. Applause. Voter tells them that she has just turned 18 and it’s her very first election. More applause.

10:37 a.m. 3-6 and 3-9 (Scarlett Middle School 3300 Lorraine St.) Another polling station with no campaign workers in sight outside. Over 50 voters have been through 3-6, and another 68 for 3-9. Poll workers are explaining very patiently – over and over, as voters pass through – that you can’t do cross-over voting. If you vote in the Democratic primary, you can’t also vote in the Republican primary. Many people actually seem surprised at this.

10:42 a.m. 1-1 and 1-2 and 4-1 (Michigan Union 530 S. State St.) Voter count is predictably dismal, in the single digits. For one of the precincts, that digit is 0. Poll workers wonder why the precincts are not combined as they sometimes are. Someone is practicing scales on the grand piano in the Willis Ward Lounge. Perhaps there’s a parallel between practicing scales when no one is listening and staffing the polls when no one is voting: We do these things not for now, but to be ready for later.

11:03 a.m. 4-2 (Mary St. Polling Place 926 Mary St.) Voter count here is 8. Poll workers are re-measuring the distance of campaign yard signs from the polling place. At the corner of Hoover and Mary streets in the front lawn are a few dozen empty red cups and an empty quart bottle of some kind of alcohol strewn around a long table. Undoubtedly this is the aftermath of a late-night study session of all the candidates in preparation for voting today.

11:06 a.m. 3-5 (University Townhouses Center 3200 Braeburn Cir) The public area here is right in front of the door, so I’m the first person voters see when they arrive. They look at me expectantly until a poll worker directs them to the sign-in table. Two of the poll workers here also live in the University Townhouses complex, so it’s a convenient place to work – not far to go for lunch and dinner breaks. About 30 voters so far today, with a mini-burst of activity around 11 a.m. A poll worker points out to voters that there are vote booths. “Even that thing that looks like a giant popcorn box is a booth!” Its base has large red and white stripes. One of the poll workers is juggling to pass the time. He’s pretty good.

11:32 a.m. 4-3 (U-M Coliseum 721 S. Fifth Ave.) Voter count here is 69. One voter introduces himself as a veteran, who signed up in 1954 and would have been sent to Korea – but that war ended before he left. He rounded out his service with eight years in the reserve. He does not comment on the fact that the American flag has been hung on the wall with the blue field to the observer’s right instead of the left. A ballot is rejected by the machine. Diagnosis is that he’s cross-voted in Republican and Democratic primaries. He is apologetic. Poll worker assures him: “It keeps our day interesting.” Procedure to spoil the ballot and issue a new one is now followed.

11:44 a.m. 3-8 (Pittsfield School 2543 Pittsfield Blvd.) For the first time in today’s poll travels, voters outnumber poll workers – there’s a LINE! After a few minutes, things slow down and one poll worker is sent on his lunch break. Total voters so far at this precinct: 103. One of the city’s four electronic pollbook specialists drops by – I’ve seen her at several polling places today, checking in to see if everything’s working smoothly. She tells me that each of the specialists has 12 polling stations that they visit throughout the day – she’s on her second round now.

12:02 p.m. 4-4 and 4-8 (Pioneer High School 601 W. Stadium Blvd.) Poll greeters: one for Julia Owdziej’s probate judge campaign and two for Tamara Garwood who’s in the same race – a woman and a young man. After chatting, she shows me the literature for Garwood. “That’s my daughter,” she beams. The boy is her grandson. She’s traveled from Wisconsin to greet voters at the polls. As we’re finishing up, circuit court candidate Veronique Liem walks up. Voter count for 4-4 is 120 so far.

12:18 p.m. 3-4 and 3-7 (Allen School 2560 Towner Blvd) The two precincts here have topped 100: About 130 for 3-4 and 160 for 3-7. Outside, the school’s former principal, Joan Fitzgibbon, is loading her car with items from her office. She’s switching over to become principal at Northside Elementary in the coming academic year. This is another location with absolutely no campaign workers for any candidate. Two other highlights: (1) a man wearing sandals, with each toenail painted a different bright color, and (2) chickens out the back door – two very bold roosters in a fenced area, and a separate cage of hens.

12:27 p.m. 4-9 (Lawton School 2250 S. Seventh St.) Voter count: 128. The voting location inside of Lawton Elementary is the gym. Fans are blowing. One end of the gym is a climbing wall, but blue matts are hung to cover up the first six feet of the grips. The matts have clear logos: “No Climbing” The climbing ropes are tied out of the way just above the table where the poll workers are stationed.

12:38 p.m. 2-5 (AA Assembly of God 2455 Washtenaw Ave) An older Chinese couple comes in. The woman reads a sample ballot to her husband in Chinese before they head to the voting booths. There’ve been about 160 voters here today. A poll worker says this precinct gets a lot of regulars, who come every year. The polling station is in the basement of a church. The precinct map is hung up next to a poster of “God’s Campground.”

1:02 p.m. 4-7 and 5-7 (Dicken School 2135 Runnymede) Poll greeters for judicial campaigns are standing at a location near the entrance drive to the parking lot, based on the location of the yellow 100-foot limit sign – which was placed by a city worker. It’s not clear how the measurement was taken – as it appears to be around 300 feet away from the entrance to the school building. They are resigned to standing in this spot, however. Voter count for 5-7 is 43. Poll worker notes that he has voted in every election since the one after Kennedy.

1:03 p.m. 3-3 (Tappan Middle School 2251 E. Stadium Blvd) Along East Stadium near the street leading to Tappan, Ward 3 candidate Samuel McMullen is waving at drivers – he and one of his supporters are holding a huge banner urging people to vote for him. Closer to Tappan, another Ward 3 candidate – Julie Grand – is greeting voters with her 7-month-old dog, Ursa. She’s talking with a volunteer from Owdziej’s campaign. A voter walks by on her way out and Grand asks what number she was – the voter says she thinks she was around 4,000, which makes me laugh. I walk in with voter 275.

1:39 p.m. 5-6 (Eberwhite School 800 Soule Blvd.) Poll workers are in the midst of completing a spoiled ballot procedure for someone who cross voted in both primaries. Voter count is 119 so far. There’s an intercom system for people who need assistance at the front steps to the school; it alerts a poll worker inside. A poll worker returns from break. So they rotate jobs.

1:44 p.m. 4-6 (Cobblestone Farm 2781 Packard St.) Continuing the chicken theme, you can hear roosters crowing at this Cobblestone Farm polling station. The vote count is 142. The poll here is on the upper level, so it’s easy to tell when a voter arrives, as they clomp up the wooden stairs. The clomping right now comes from two women who are carrying bike helmets. No campaign workers outside, unless you count the scarecrow couple in bridal attire standing in the garden – clearly anti-crow.

2:05 p.m. 5-4 and 5-5 (Slauson Middle School 1019 W. Washington) Voter count is 192 so far for 5-4. Chair of this precinct began working elections after the “hanging-chad” election. Estimated turnout based on votes so far, when absentee votes are counted, could hit 20%. The only poll greeters working here are for judicial candidates.

2:10 p.m. 4-5 (St. Clare Church/Temple Beth Emeth 2309 Packard St.) A man comes in and asks: “Is there any way to see what’s on the ballot?” Yes, there are sample ballots at every polling station. He asks whether Washtenaw Community College trustees are on the ballot. No, that race will be in November. One poll worker spots a campaign volunteer who’s talking to a voter within the 100-foot boundary – she hustles out to tell him to move. “That’s the third time today!” she says. She’s not sure whose campaign he’s with, and he leaves before I get out there. It’s pretty slow here – after 7 hours, 115 voters.

4:19 p.m. 5-3 (2nd Baptist Church 850 Red Oak Rd.) A poll worker announces that the next person in line is voter 126, with a couple more waiting to get their ballots. After they vote, though, the place empties out. One poll worker leaves to take her dinner break. The remaining group discuss the fact that a worker for Owdziej’s campaign had been standing behind the 100-foot marker, but calling out to voters, “Vote for this person!” and pointing to Owdziej’s name on his T-shirt. They wondered if it was allowed, as his voice was projecting beyond the 100-foot marker. Seems like a strategy if the campaign worker can’t pronounce the candidate’s name.

4:38 p.m. 5-11 (Forsythe Middle School 1655 Newport Rd.) Voter 386 walks through the door. An earlier voter has a spoiled ballot, and is asked to place it in an envelope “with all of its friends,” a poll worker says. “Oh good, then I’m not alone!” the voter replies. This particular person is confused about the concept of a primary, and wants to vote for candidates in both parties. Throughout the day, I’ve heard voters express that same frustration. Other common reasons for spoiled ballots are when people vote for two judicial candidates instead of one. There’s a mini-rush now, with a small line. As I leave, voter 399 is in line.

5:03 p.m. 5-9 (Haisley School 825 Duncan St.) A line about six people deep is here, constituting the start of the after-work “rush.” One of those voters is Anya Dale, board member with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, who brought her young daughter along. Another voter has a spoiled ballot – she voted for more than one judicial candidate. The next ballot gets jammed. The line of voters waiting to insert their ballots into the counter is growing as a poll worker gets on the floor and opens the back of the machine, trying to figure out what’s wrong. After about 10 minutes, the worker sets that ballot aside and tries to find the voter, who has left. Her mother is still here, however, and calls to get her to come back and revote. The line starts moving again. Poll workers discuss the fact that they’re running out of ballots.

5:25 p.m. 5-10 (Abbot School 2670 Sequoia Pkwy) I arrive at the same time as Tim Grimes and his wife, who tell me they’ve been voting at this school for almost 27 years. Grimes is manager of community relations & marketing for the Ann Arbor District Library. Turnout here is 252 so far. That was about the total of voters at this precinct for the May 6 transit millage proposal, according to the precinct workers – but they point out that the polls are open another three hours. There’s a steady stream of voters, and a very short line.

5:49 p.m. 5-8 (Lakewood School 344 Gralake Ave.) The final stop on today’s polling station tour required traversing the dust and backups of Jackson Road construction to get to Gralake, where Lakeview Elementary is located. Poll workers give me tips to go a different way out, to avoid that mess. Now if I can just avoid the rain, too. Unlike the Lakewood Lizards, I don’t like getting drenched. A voter exits by saying, “That was painless!” He did not communicate his sentiment in sign language, although the gym is lined with posters showing how to sign the alphabet and numbers up to 25. More than 25 voters have cast their ballots here: This precinct is on voter 171.

That’s it from the Aug. 5, 2014 Chronicle tour of the polls. This year’s tally was 48 out of 48 precincts. The polls remain open until 8 p.m. – so there’s still plenty of time to vote.

After the polls close, unofficial results will be reported by the Washtenaw County clerk’s office on its Aug. 5, 2014 election results page. Even more unofficially, The Chronicle will post informally reported results from the paper tapes generated at polling locations. Here’s the link to the page with those results, which will be live starting at 8 p.m.: [link]

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