Despite election conspiracies, few people in Michigan bother to watch gear tests

  • Michigan demands ‘logic and accuracy’ tests before election
  • Some clerks have sent out press releases inviting the public
  • Across the state, few issues were reported in equipment

Ahead of Michigan’s first major election since the 2020 election conspiracy theory frenzy, election officials are once again holding public events to demonstrate their regular testing of electoral systems — and again finding little interest from Michiganders in see the technology and the process up close.

The Aug. 2 primary is just days away, and clerks across the state are testing tabulators to ensure the machines are accurate, reliable, and ready to receive ballots from voters and count them correctly. . The assessments, called logic and accuracy tests, are mandated by state law, as in many parts of the country. In Michigan, testing must be done before each election and is open to the public.

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As the country’s elections are clouded by suspicion, distrust and misinformation, election officials hope the public testing will dispel suspicion and help renew confidence in their voting process.

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown is among Michigan clerks strongly encouraging residents to see the tests. She thinks witnessing the mock count could help dispel some of the misinformation and misinformation around the election.

“It’s open to the public,” said Brown, who noted she advertised in the local newspaper, sent out a press release, posted on social media and notified an email list. . “It’s a transparent operation. Come watch! Come see what we’re up to!”

But only one local resident came to watch Monday’s test, which Brown conducted in a large conference room at the Oakland County Clerk’s Office in Pontiac. Two election workers from Hamburg Township in Livingston County also watched to learn more about the tabulator software.

With the help of a handful of staff armed with about 20 computers, Brown and Oakland County Chief Electoral Officer Joseph Rozell scanned test slips to verify the accuracy of 18 tabulators. Oakland election workers will use the same tabulators on Tuesday to count mail-in ballots for 19 communities in the county.

“We want to ensure the accuracy of the equipment as well as the security so that we know the votes are secure,” Brown said.

Statewide, no noticeable issues or problems were reported during testing of local election services tabulators, said Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “None that was not correctable or indicative of anything more than initial human error that was detected and corrected”, Wimmer said.

Another test took place later in the week in Port Huron, a border town along Lake Huron in St. Clair County. City Clerk Cyndee Jonseck also said she invites voters to come watch the tests. “There are so many views out there on the election, and so it [the testing] raises awareness about machine testing and how that plays out in every election,” Jonseck said.

Although a public notice for Thursday morning’s logic and accuracy test appeared in the Port Huron Times Herald and on the city’s website, no residents showed up, Jonseck said.

She was joined by her staff, Port Huron Police Chief Joseph Platzer and Chief Financial Officer Ed Brennan, who are members of the city’s electoral commission, to test a tabulator for one of the 10 boroughs in Port Huron.

“I just think a lot of people aren’t aware of the process,” Jonseck said, as she loaded about 30 fake ballots into the tabulator.

Jonseck tested the machine using several different scenarios on test ballots, including overvoting and inserting a blank ballot. Later, she compared the results of test slips that included votes for the contestants to the tabulator readings. The manual count of the test slips and the tabulator matched.

“We do things here,” Platzer said. “Sitting here just watching the test and verification shows things are done right.”

The police chief says the public test “shows the transparency” of the process and that the system is reliable.

In Oakland County, Brown said she also hopes the testing will dispel any doubts some may have about the vote. “Now we have people who doubt the transparency, the security of the vote,” Brown said.

Walled Lake resident Marlene Palicz came to Brown’s office to watch Monday’s tests. She said the visit made her “feel better” and put an end to any worries about the counting of the ballots.

“It really shows how they prove accuracy,” Palicz, a Republican delegate from her Oakland County community compound, told Brown. “Thanks for that. I didn’t realize it was so detailed.

This article is made possible thanks to Votebeat, a nonpartisan news organization covering local election administration and voting. Votebeat will make this article available for reprint under the terms of its repost policy.

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