November election was safe, Michigan county clerks tell state lawmakers

Amid ongoing legal challenges to Michigan’s election results and a dramatic certification process in Michigan’s largest county, three county clerks have spent more than three hours working to assure state lawmakers that , in their view, the November 3 elections were secure.

At a joint House and Senate Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday afternoon, Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum – both former members of the Legislative Assembly of Michigan – and County Antrim Clerk Sheryl Guy answered questions about Michigan’s electoral process and offered thoughts on how it could be improved.

At various points in the hearing, all three testified to the security of the electoral process in their county, even in Antrim, where the failure to update the voting software correctly initially led to incorrect reports of results not officials. The error was reported by a citizen the morning after the polls closed, but the solicitation process eventually caught the problem regardless, Guy said.

‘I cannot express how unfortunate it is that human error has called into question the integrity of County Antrim’s electoral process,’ she said.

Lawmakers grilled clerks on the finer details of the counting, processing and solicitation of ballots in their counties as they relayed the additional challenges they faced administering the election this cycle due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 and an exponential increase in mail-in ballots.

“The days of having all of our results by midnight on election night are over,” Lyons joked.

But Lyons said there was no reason to be wary of the election results in Kent County: “Our town and our township clerks, our election workers, they brought their A game, they raised the challenge, they did a great job.”

Despite ongoing partisan rhetoric and allegations of improprieties, Michigan voters “should rest easy knowing that their votes were counted and their voices were heard,” Byrum said, calling election administrators the State of “unsung heroes of our electoral process”.

At least a handful of observers watching the proceedings in person seemed unconvinced. Senate Oversight Chairman Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, has at times had to ask members of the public not to interrupt proceedings, and after Byrum told lawmakers, ‘In Michigan, the dead don’t vote’ , several people laughed audibly.

Lyons and Byrum proposed legislative changes that could improve Michigan’s electoral process in the future.

Lyons, a Republican, suggested blocking election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot requests and not allowing mail-in e-vote requests unless there is additional verification of the signature, referring to decisions made by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also recommended giving county clerks the power to remove deceased people from the roster of qualified voters.

And Byrum, a Democrat, called for giving clerks more time to process mail-in ballots before Election Day and more time between the filing deadline and the deadline to mail ballots to voters. soldiers and foreigners. She suggested that county clerks be made filing officials: “We need a better solution than part-time local clerks who end up with full-time workloads.”

“Please do not confuse my offer of these improvements with an acknowledgment that there has been malfeasance in this election,” Byrum added.

The committee’s investigation into the electoral process began shortly after President Donald Trump, his campaign and supporters began to allege there were irregularities in Michigan’s presidential election and other presidential races. state tightly contested after unofficial statewide totals showed he lost the state to President-elect Joe Biden.

None of the lawsuits challenging Michigan’s electoral process have yet won a court battle. The Trump campaign on Thursday dismissed one of its two lawsuits seeking to block Michigan’s vote certification after the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Solicitors released affidavits suggesting they would like to nullify their votes for certify the results of the November elections.

It’s too late for them to change their minds now that the county canvassing board certification deadline has passed, Secretary of State spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer said, and the final decision to certify the results of the State of November 3 belongs to the Board of State Solicitors.

The council is due to meet on Monday, November 23.

In an interview with MLive this week, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said he hoped the legislative hearings would “restore people’s faith in our electoral process” and said the judicial process should be able to unfold.

“If there is fraud, I hope to find out and I hope these people will be prosecuted,” he said. “If there was no fraud, we accept the results and move on.”

Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, are scheduled to meet Trump at the White House on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Legislative Democrats have criticized the principle of the inquiry from the start. At Thursday’s hearing, Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, questioned the value of hearings when statewide election results are clear.

“I’m still trying to figure out why we’re here, especially since we have a pandemic and we already know what the election outcome is,” she said.

Previously, the committee authorized a subpoena to the Michigan Office of Elections for information and communications related to the 2020 primary and general elections. The office recovered 1,100 documents related to absentee voting efforts.

When announcing the document’s release, Attorney General Dana Nessel said that while her office disputes the legality of the subpoena, the documents are being provided to “promote cooperation and transparency” between branches of the state government.

Related coverage:

GOP-led committees in Michigan authorize subpoena for election information

Michigan Elections Office Provides 1,100 Documents in Response to Legislative Subpoena

Wayne County canvassers, after a last-minute reversal, certified the election results. What happens now?

Republican canvassers in Wayne County cannot void vote to certify election, says secretary of state

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