GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Election officials throughout West Michigan say they’ve been getting a lot of questions about election equipment ahead of the Nov. 2 elections.
Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck both say they’re extremely confident in both the equipment and the certification process.
Roebuck said in Michigan, there are three vendors certified to sell election equipment. Those purchases are done at the county level.
“Ottawa County uses Hart InterCivic. They are an election equipment vendor that’s been around for a long time. They’ve been around about 100 years actually, based in Austin, Texas,” Roebuck explained.
He went on to say that the equipment not only goes through state testing but federal certification as well.
“By the time election equipment is actually in use, it’s been tested and certified on multiple levels, and this includes the software programming used and the actual hardware that physically counts paper ballots.”
Posthumus Lyons echoed that confidence, saying Kent County goes through many checks and balances before, during and after elections to ensure integrity and security.
“Prior to each election, every municipality tests their equipment so that it can demonstrate functionality and accuracy. Those tests are public we want and encourage the public to come and attend those tests. We put the schedule out online on our website. Then after the election we also have a public canvassing process where we have bipartisan canvassers that review the election results tapes with the poll books and make sure those numbers balance and confirm our election results,” Posthumus Lyons explained.
After those results are canvassed and certified, each clerk’s office does an independent audit of municipalities which includes a hand tally of certain races.
Although odd-year elections generally see a much lower turnout, clerks say they’re still very important because they contain issues such as senate district elections, township and city proposals, city elections and proposals involving schools. You can find out what will be on your local ballot here.