GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After the votes are counted and certified, the checks and balances that are a part of elections in Michigan continue. Across the state, county clerks are auditing the Nov. 3 general election.
It’s the law. The state picked 10 of Kent County’s 252 precincts to audit. Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a Republican, added a Grand Rapids city precinct, increasing the list to 11.
“(Grand Rapids) is the biggest city in our county. It is the second biggest city in the state,” Posthumus Lyons said.
Auditors review the steps taken before, during and after an election, making sure equipment was checked and procedures were followed. Then they manually count paper ballots from the chosen precincts to confirm the final tally’s in those precincts. In Kent County, some 16,000 ballots will be counted.
“This audit is kind of the final verification that the election was conducted properly,” Posthumus Lyons explained. “It’s really important to kind of put that cap on the election process so our voters have confidence that the election was secure, it was fair, it was transparent and it was accurate.”
It’s a tedious process, one that leads to strained eyes and multiple paper cuts, but Posthumus Lyons says it’s necessary.
“The checks and balances are critical to make sure we have public trust in this election process,” she said.
That trust has fallen victim to wild accusations and failed lawsuits this time around.
So Posthumus Lyons is offering an invitation. The audits, like most others steps in the election process, are open to the public. You can come watch and clerks are on hand to answer questions.
“In order to have trust in your system, you have to understand the process and how it works, and we want to help voters understand the process better,” Posthumus Lyons said. “I want people to care about their election. I want them to seek answers if they have questions.”
STATE AUDIT PLANS
The Michigan Bureau of Elections on Wednesday released its plans for the upcoming statewide risk-limiting audit, which the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office says has been in the works for nearly two years, and the routine procedural audits for 200 jurisdictions.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, called it the “most comprehensive set of audits in our state’s history.”
“…The Bureau of Elections and Michigan’s more than 1,600 local election clerks are demonstrating the integrity of our election,” a statement from Benson continued.
There will also be a zero-margin risk-limiting audit — a hand count of ballots — in Antrim County. The small northern Michigan county has become an unexpected focal point of the general election after workers’ mistake while programming tabulators made it look like Democratic President-elect Joe Biden had won in the strongly Republican area. The problem was immediately caught, the votes were recounted by hand and it was soon clear President Donald Trump had won in Antrim County. The incorrect count was in initial reporting, not the certified results.
All the audits should be completed this month.