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City of Detroit says morning polling issue was 'harmless data error' and has been resolved

Posted at 6:32 PM, Nov 08, 2022

(WXYZ) — The City of Detroit said confusion this morning regarding in-person voters getting a message saying they voted absentee was a "harmless data error."

According to the city's elections department and the Michigan Secretary of State's office, election inspectors at some Detroit voting precincts this morning got a message on the e-pollbook screen that said "ballot # has already been issued as Absentee Voter Ballot."

That message did not indicate that the voter who was trying to vote in person voted absentee. Instead, it meant that an absentee ballot number that was issued to a different voter was the same ballot number being issued to the in-person voter, according to officials.

The city said that the e-pollbook system recognized the duplicate ballot numbers and issued the error message, so no two ballots would have the same ballot number.

"All safeguards preventing a voter from voting more than one ballot are in place since polls opened at 7:00 a.m. and those safeguards remain in place," the city said in a statement.

The SOS office said e-pollbooks are the laptops that are used at polling places to confirm voters are registered and have not already voted absentee.

Election inspectors confirmed that each voter was registered and had not voted absentee, and those voters were then given an in-person ballot with that number, and the situation was resolved with election inspectors adding a letter to precinct ballot numbers that distinguished them from the absentee ballots.

"When this occurred, voters were correctly checked in on a paper backup list and issued ballots that were cast by the voters. These ballots will be counted," the Michigan Department of State said in a release. "Whether using the electronic pollbook or the paper backup, procedures are in place to ensure a voter casts only one ballot."