GR clerk busy with registrations as election nears

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There was a long line at the Grand Rapids City Clerk’s Office Friday afternoon as people cast absentee ballots.

Some needed to register to vote, but others went to the clerk’s office only to cast their absentee ballot early.

While the office technically closed at 5 p.m., anyone who was in line by then was allowed to finish their business.

Adhering to social distancing protocols, the line curled throughout three floors of city hall as the wait grew to 50 minutes at one point in the afternoon. 

And with officials anticipating even longer lines and bigger crowds on Election Day, some voters felt it was safer to cast their ballot early.  

“With COVID going around, you just don’t want to be packed and have to wait in line with all the crowds and everything, so I wanted to do it early,” Bryant Martin said.  

At 91 years old, one of the oldest voters in line didn’t want to wait another day before casting her ballot.

“My mom was so excited about it,” the voter’s daughter, Sarah Hampton, said. “She didn’t want to drop her ballot in a box, she wanted to go down to the city clerk’s office to vote.” 

At 18 years old, first-time voter Taylor Rahman shared that same excitement.  

“I’m just excited that I can vote now (and) can have a say,” Rahman said.  

The Grand Rapids clerk’s office will be open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can find more information at grandrapidsmi.gov.