By Annah Johnson
Over 3 million people returned their absentee ballots in Michigan, but many Michiganders still decided to vote the old fashioned way on Nov. 3.
Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, voting looked a little different this year. Fewer booths placed farther apart, some (but not all) voters wearing masks, and election workers sanitizing stations all offered a new vision of voting unique to 2020.
“For it being my first time voting and going to the polls it was actually decent,” said Stephanie Briceno, 20, of Grand Rapids. “It didn’t take as long as I thought it would and the process was quick and easy. And everyone was mindful of each other, there wasn’t much tension like I expected there to be so I’m pretty content with my experience at the poll today.”
While many voters were able to make their vote a quick trip, there were a few polling places with long lines. Some lines, like those at Heath Township Hall and Holland Charter Township Fire Department Station 1, wrapped around the parking lot. Most voters appeared to be distanced around six feet apart making the lines appear even longer.
“The lines were too long,” said Pamela Madrigal, 18, of Kent City. “It gave me more time to be nervous.” Madrigal is a first-time voter who showed up to the polls upon her first opportunity to cast a ballot.
In the weeks leading up to the election, poll watchers were being encouraged by President Donald Trump to guard polling stations. Michigan’s Secretary of State attempted to ban firearms at polling stations to discourage voter intimidation but was not successful in her efforts.
Although the firearm ban was not passed, some polling stations independently prevented voters from taking firearms into their buildings.
There have been no reports of West Michigan polling places having issues with voter intimidation on Nov. 3, including the presence of firearms.
Although tension seemed low and voters seemed quiet at polling stations on election day, many businesses are anticipating possible discontent following the election. The White House erected multiple layers of unscalable fencing, local businesses are boarding up their windows, and voters are impatiently awaiting results that may send the nation into unrest.
At this time we have impartial results. The official results will be available once every vote is counted. This will take an undetermined amount of time, but are predicted to be final before Friday, Nov. 6.