Michigan county clerks overwhelmed with 2020 election demands

Some of the requests come from county residents, but many others, in cut-and-paste form, come from organized groups, says the Ottawa County Clerk.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Michigan — Election officials in western Michigan County are busy responding to FOIA requests related to the 2020 primary voter fraud conspiracy.

FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act which gives the public the right to request access to records from any local, state or federal agency.

Ottawa County, in particular, has been inundated for the past three weeks with requests, according to Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck, a Republican elected official.

Some of the requests are from county residents, but many others, in copy-and-paste format, are not.

“I think it has to do with a lot of these organizations and national figures who use symposia and forums to raise concerns about what I would call ‘baseless claims,’ about the election,” said Roebuck.

Some of the requests are simple, but others are for information the county does not have.

“We have neighboring counties that have Dominion voting systems and so we get a lot of Dominion deed requests that of course we don’t have and can’t fulfill.”

Or the requests are more nuanced and take a lot of staff time to dig through their records to get them.

Staff don’t have time as they focus on the upcoming midterm elections in November.

“The challenge is the burden of these public information law requests; we’re strapped for resources,” Roebuck said. “We are in a place where there is a real concern about being able to meet the needs of residents, but also ensuring a safe and secure election.”

One reason for the increase could be that September 23 is the deadline for the federal retention period for documents related to the 2020 election. So after the 23rd, county clerks are no longer required to store these materials.

Roebuck says clerks are overwhelmed across the state and country.

In fact, Kent County Deputy Chief Clerk Robert Macomber just tweeted about the matter on Thursday.

His tweet says…“48 hours before our wedding and I respond in a flurry [of] FOIA requests about the election. Not the last nor the 5 before that, but 2020, two years ago. I follow all the election officials right now, as I continue to experience and manage the next election. Thank yours when you see them.”

“We are a transparent operation and an election administration in general is and should be, but I think its important people understand the facts and follow the facts, especially when those facts have been exposed,” Roebuck said.

13 ON YOUR SIDE is awaiting a response from the Michigan Secretary of State.

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