II. Primary Updates
District of Columbia
Voters headed to the polls in the District of Columbia on Tuesday for the final presidential primary of the 2016 election cycle. Most voters probably didn’t realize that the day was historic and not because of what was on the ballot, but because they had a ballot at all. June 14 marked the 60th anniversary of the District’s first-ever presidential primary.
Although with only 21 percent turnout there were no reports of crowds or lines at polling places, there were some issues.
Apparently a “glitch” with the District’s mobile voter registration app switched some Democratic voters to No Party voters when people updated their registration information in the days leading up to the election.
"If a voter believes that his or her party affiliation status is listed incorrectly, the voter can cast a special ballot. The DCBOE will count the special ballot if it determines, based upon a review of its records, that the voter is eligible to cast a ballot in the primary election," Interim Executive Director Terri Stroud told WAMU in an email.
Another problem that voters ran into—although it’s unclear how many—was a change in District law that requires voters wishing to update their voting address on election day to go to their old precinct, instead of their new precinct to update their information. Social media was filled with accounts of people running into this problem.
And in another quirk in District law, many voters were alarmed to discover that the city’s voter rolls, including name, address, party affiliation and how many times and how they had voted appeared on the city’s elections website.
"All of the information contained in this listing is public information," Kenneth McGhie, the D.C. Board of Elections' general counsel told The Washington Post. "Indeed, we indicate on our voter registration form that 'voter registration information is public, with the exception of full/partial social security number, date of birth, email, and phone number.' All of this information can be obtained from the DCBOE pursuant to a data or Freedom of Information Act request.”
Turnout, or lack thereof, was the story of the day for Maine’s primary elections. According to the Press Herald, only about 1 in 10 registered voters cast ballots in many Maine towns.
“People do believe in democracy and believe that their vote does count,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told the paper. “That being said, because there is a light fight ticket this year on the primary ballot, many people hadn’t seen campaign ads, they hadn’t seen the signs or haven’t paid much attention to them and did not even realize that Tuesday was primary Election Day.”
Despite the low turnout — or possibly because of it — the state will most likely see a recount in the 1st District Republican primary where only a few dozen votes out of more than 21,000 cast separate the candidates.
Despite heavy early voting and absentee voting, primary day in The Silver State was only around 21 percent. There were few if any reported problems throughout the state.
At mid-day Washoe County Registrar Luanne Cutler said things were going as expected. "It's really been running as we expected, which is slow and steady," Cutler told the Reno Gazette-Journal and that didn’t change throughout the day.
The Peace Garden State (how many of you knew that was North Dakota’s nickname?!) saw a turnout of about 24 percent on Tuesday, which exceeded turnout during the June 2014 mid-term primary, but not the 2012 presidential primary. Despite the turnout, there were relatively few problems.
The state reported very few problems with its voter ID law. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum told INForum that the state received only about 10 calls regarding voter ID issues.
The Bismarck city commission race could come down to a recount pending the canvassing boards’ count of absentee ballots. And in Hannaford, the mayor’s race has ended in a tie, but the results are still unofficial with some absentee ballots yet to be counted. Each candidate received 28 votes.
Billings and Hettinger counties conducted their primaries by mail and by all accounts the process was a success. Voter turnout in Billings County jumped from 25 percent to 50 percent under vote-by-mail.
In Fargo, postcards about voting that some West Fargo residents received about their new polling location had the incorrect information on them. The county placed signs on the doors of the incorrectly listed address directing voters to the correct address.
And an afternoon power outage in Grand Forks did nothing to slow down voters who continued to fill out their paper ballots by the glow of emergency lights.
“I didn’t notice at first, because it was light in the entryway,” voter Sally Akerline told the Grand Forks Herald. “I guess I’ve never voted in Grand Forks before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But they seemed to handle it pretty well.”