WARREN, Mich. – In a surprisingly quiet Warren Town Hall today, the phones in the Macomb County Clerk’s office were ringing off the hook.
“This is the busiest election in history,” Deputy City Clerk Sonja Buffa said.
But concerns over the use of foreclosure lists by political operatives to challenge the eligibility of voters have not been a problem so far, Buffa said.
In September, the Michigan Messenger quoted James Carabelli, the Macomb County Republican Party Chair, as saying “We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses.”
Carabelli has since said those quotes were falsified and has filed a lawsuit against the Messenger.
Buffa said there have been both Democratic and Republican challengers at most of the precincts in Macomb all day, but foreclosure lists haven’t been used.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that federal poll monitors would be watching the election in Macomb. They were at Precinct 61 — Warren Woods Baptist Church — just after 12pm today, Buffa said.
Due to worries over a large number of voter eligibility challenges and lawsuits, the Department of Justice chose Macomb to be one of 59 jurisdictions in 23 states where federal workers would monitor the polls. It was the only area in Michigan chosen to receive such scrutiny.
Despite the increased focus on the fairness of the election in Macomb, the turnout so far has been “gigantic,” Buffa said. But there’s also been “all kinds of problems.”
She said the lines have been long at pretty much every precinct since as early as 6:45 a.m. The biggest problem so far has been the long waits. But Buffa said people have been willing to wait and cast their votes.