GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Sitting in the back of a small conference room on the third floor of the Kent County Administration Building, Mark Williams and Alan Dunst on Thursday watched election workers assist the county’s four Board of Canvass members in making sure the ballots issued equaled the ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary election.
Both men have question about the election process. Dunst’s concerns go back to the 2020 presidential election.
“In terms of accuracy, transparency, etc.,” Dunst, of Gaines Township, said.
Williams wanted more information after something didn’t seem right about the way the tabulator took his ballot on Tuesday during the primary.
“All I wanted to know is did it count or not. I just wanted to have that understanding,” Williams, of Kentwood, said.
Rather than debating their concerns over social media, the two men decided to get answers through watching and questioning the certification portion of the election process.
Boards of canvassers throughout the state, including in Kent County, have begun the task of certifying your vote in Tuesday’s primary election. Each board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats. Their job is all about the numbers: 147,963 votes were cast at 496 precincts throughout Kent County in the primary.
“They go through the poll book. They compare the number of ballots that were put through the tabulating machines to the number of ballots that were issued. Check for any comments, any issue there,” Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons explained.
“This is where are results are certified and made official,” she said. “This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of election results.”
The debate over the process for electing our political leaders has never been so contentious, so local clerks are making sure the public knows they can be part of the process during Board of Canvassers certification meetings.
“It’ a really good opportunity for those folks to ask questions and learn more about the process,” Posthumus Lyons said.
That’s what brought Dunst and Williams downtown Thursday morning. Despite the audits, recounts and court rulings confirming results of the 2020 presidential election, there are still some voters who believe the system is rigged. Others, like Dunst and Williams want to see firsthand just how valid those concerns are. Attending the Board of Canvassers and asking questions of those in charge is their answer to all the election rhetoric.
“I just decided to try to educate myself and to become a little more active and to try to be part of the solution, as opposed to just complaining,” Dunst said.
“I want to understand the process. And what I can tell you from what I’ve seen, very thorough. I had no idea everything that went on behind the scenes here,” Williams told News 8.
Both men say they still have concerns over the process, but they walked away with a better understanding and more confidence than they started with.
“Are there vulnerabilities, absolutely. But I feel a whole lot better than I did on Tuesday,” Dunst said.
“I think the people who are actually involved in those processes are people of good will and good intent. So I feel much more confident in that,” Williams said.
The board is expected to meet through next week each weekday starting at 9 a.m. in room 311 of the Kent County Building at 300 Monroe Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids. For the times and locations of other Boards of Canvassers meetings, contact your county clerk’s office.