Clerical error nearly kept former Saginaw City Council member from voting

By  | 

SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/7/2018) - Former Saginaw City Councilman Andrew Wendt is glad he got to vote.

A clerical error at the polls Tuesday nearly denied him that right.

Wendt votes at the city's 14th precinct on North Charles Street, where turnout was strong compared to previous midterm elections.

"It was busy, yeah definitely busy," he said.

But besides a bit of a wait, Wendt didn't expect any problems as he prepared to cast his ballot.

"Showed my ID, filled out the paperwork and everything," he said. "They swiped my ID and then we were talking to the workers, thanking them for working, and then the gentleman said, 'You already voted.' And I said, 'No I did not.'"

Two election workers reiterated that the system showed he already had voted. It had a signature on file for someone using his name who had cast a ballot earlier in the day.

It wasn't Wendt's signature but it looked close enough. The voting precinct director then got involved.

"She actually recognized who I was, and said, 'Oh my gosh,'" he said.

They realized that Wendt was telling the truth, that he hadn't voted and was allowed to cast a ballot.

"I was still able to vote and it wasn't under provisional," he said. "They knew that I didn't vote."

He voted but was still confused about why the election workers there had him down as already casting a ballot.

Saginaw City Clerk Janet Santos said on Wednesday that after a few phones calls, the mystery was solved. She believes that an election worker was processing another voter with a similar last name to Wendt's and that worker accidentally put an electronic check mark by Wendt's name.

She said the other man's ballot was not spoiled and both ballots were included in the election's final totals. Wendt is satisfied with the explanation, but he's not sure everyond behind him in line will be.

"I felt bad for everybody else because they actually had to stand there and wait," he said.