2nd problem: Some couldn’t vote for GRCC trustee

Elections

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials have discovered a second, unrelated error in the election for the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees.

Nov. 6 ballots in two precincts in two Allegan County townships did not include a GRCC section, the Kent County clerk said Friday. That means there are 1,611 registered voters in Leighton and Wayland townships who didn’t have the chance to vote for trustee.

The race covers all or parts of Allegan, Barry, Kent, Ionia, Newaygo and Ottawa counties, and each county prints its own ballots. The Kent County Clerk’s Office, which files the results with the state, says it has notified the Bureau of Elections of the omission.

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons said in a statement that she had “explored every option available to set this right,” but that she doesn’t have the power to do anything about it.

“However,” she stated, “my number one priority has always been to ensure the integrity of our elections, so I am already taking steps in my office to safeguard the process to make sure this never happens again.”

In an accompanying statement, Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski said called the mistake “an unfortunate situation.”

“We take our role working with other counties on election matters very seriously,” the statement continued. “We are working with Kent County officials to improve election coordination in the future.”

The GRCC trustee vote was already going to undergo a recount because the wrong results for Barry County were entered and, subsequently, the wrong winner certified to the state.

The Kent County Clerk’s Office said the mistake in Allegan County won’t affect the recount, which should be completed before Dec. 28. The result of the recount will be final unless a new challenge is filed due to the omission.

As things stand now, Kathy Crosby and Sheryl Siegel are expected to win the two trustee seats that were up for election.

The Kent County Clerk’s Office explained that it uploads race and candidate information to an online database before the election. Participating counties consulted that database to prepare their ballots. The ballots were then sent to the state and each candidate to be checked. The county also reviewed the ballots a final time after getting them back from the state.

In this case, because the race was left off the ballots entirely in the two affected precincts, they weren’t sent to the candidates to check.

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