Some Michigan voters were wrongly turned away from the polls last Tuesday after refusing to affirm their US citizenship. But some other voters—and an elections watchdog group—say they also encountered problems with misguided enforcement of the state’s voter ID law. Jennifer Gariepy she walked to her polling place in Warren to vote without photo ID. She said poll workers there told her she couldn’t vote without one—even though state law allows people without ID to vote, if they sign a legal affidavit affirming their identity. “And [I said], ‘No! That’s not right. You can’t refuse me a ballot,’” Gariepy recalled. Gariepy said the poll workers relented after awhile, and she did get did to vote–eventually. “I had to insist,” she said. “They weren’t about to volunteer that.” Hundreds of similar reports came into an election protection hotline last Tuesday, says Jocelyn Benson, head of the Michigan Center for Election Law.
Benson, a former Secretary of State candidate, said there’s no evidence anyone was actually turned away from the polls due to a lack of ID. “But we do know of many voters who were discouraged, frustrated, and dealt with similar frustration back-and-forths with poll workers, because they were trying to assert their rights,” she added. The voter ID law has been in place since 2007, and no policies or directives have changed since then, according to Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.