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Voters Turned Away As Citizenship Box Creates Confusion At The Polls

UPDATE (8/8): Group Investigates Possible 'Rights Violation' At The Polls

LANSING (WWJ) - Some voters were reportedly turned away from the polls on Michigan's primary election day for refusing to fill out the new "citizenship" box on their ballot application.

Jocelyn Bensen, Director of the Michigan Center for Election Law, said they've been taking calls from confused voters across the state regarding this issue. She's criticizing the Secretary of State's office for failing to remind clerks that voters who decline to fill out the citizenship box must still be allowed to cast a ballot.

"It has been the number one issue that we received calls on this morning," Bensen told WWJ Newsradio 950. "And that's why we contacted the Secretary of State's office's again today, urging the office to issue a clarifying statement, which they finally did at around noon."

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office said clerks at "some precincts" were reminded about how to handle the citizenship question.

Civil liberties groups have said the question is an attempt to discourage people from voting and that asking people to re-affirm their citizenship is redundant.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said the question serves to clear up any confusion among some of non-U.S. Citizens who were under the impression that they could vote because they were asked to register at a Secretary of State.

Voters with questions about this or other election process issues are asked to the call center's hotline at 1-800-R-VOTE.

RELATED: Polling Problems: Doors Closed, Voters Frisked In Detroit

For information on Tuesday's primary election, including results as they become available, click here.

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