GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to testify before Congress about last year’s midterm elections, emphasizing that a transparent process supports a strong nation.

Addressing the House Administration’s Subcommittee on Elections during a series looking back at election observer access, Lyons’ comments focused on poll challengers. She said that though they’ve gained a negative reputation in recent years, poll challengers are an important part of the election process.

In Michigan, challengers must be credentialed and are required to show those credentials at polling places. They are not allowed to display the credentials while people are voting. They’re also not allowed to approach, speak to, or imply they can assist a voter. In addition to the political parties, other organizations can apply to credential challengers.

Asked why she believes challengers’ participation is important, Lyons said that anytime a citizen can take part in an election, it gives them ownership over the process and supports voter confidence.

“I really believe that elections are the bedrock of our republic, and our republic is reliant upon public trust in that process, and public trust in that process is reliant upon knowing the process and participating it. And so I think it’s really important to be able to have transparency in our elections so that people can observe at every stage, not just the challenger stage, but at every stage so that that transparency breeds trust,” she told representatives.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called the elections the state’s largest midterm ever as more than 4.5 million people cast a ballot. However, it didn’t go without challenges.

Kent County’s website crashed on election night. People were still able to access results and it didn’t affect the overall count. The board of canvassers also had to do a recount for two Kent County school board races and Proposal 3, which was about the future of abortion. Those results have since been certified.