Detroit officials prepare for the primaries; low turnout expected

After protests by Republican poll challengers during the 2020 presidential election, the city has heightened security at all precincts and at the central counting board.

Poll worker being trained at Huntington Place ahead of Aug. 2022 primary elections.

There will be an emphasis on security during Tuesday’s primary election.

Due to protests by Republican poll challengers during the 2020 presidential election, the city has heightened security procedures at all precincts and at the central counting board, Huntington Place.

Related: Republicans Self Identified as Poll Challengers Protest at Detroit’s TCF Center

There will be a bigger police presence while counting is taking place, and everyone who enters the building will be subject to metal detectors.

Ballot counting in Detroit was the subject of many unfounded conservative conspiracy theories in 2020, generally because people showing up to observe were completely unfamiliar with the process. Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey says over three thousand poll workers are trained and assigned to work, including representation from the Republican party.

“The Department has received a list of more than 800 Republicans that were interested in participating as poll workers in this state primary. We’ve reached out to every last one of them. And as a result, we’ve trained and assigned more than 264 Republican poll workers”

Winfrey says the building will be on lockdown with everyone subject to metal detectors. She says she’s worked with the Michigan GOP to further educate many Republican poll challengers.

“When they gave us those 800 names, we said, ‘Good, good. Let’s get them trained, let’s bring them on so that everyone gets a good understanding of the process and that we can all participate in the democratic process.’”

The number of voting precincts for Detroit declined from 503 to 450, which changed the poll locations for residents. Winfrey says registered voters should have received new voter ID cards with information on their new polling place. She is expecting a 12 to 17 percent voter-turnout.


Photo courtesy of Russ McNamara/WDET.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.