Submitted by Lori Martin
Clare County Clerk/Register of Deeds
The November 3, 2020 General Election for Clare County has been certified by the Clare County Board of Canvassers. During the Canvass process there are two democrats and two republicans that review each precinct procedures and results. There is a great deal of confusion regarding the canvass of the election. I will try and explain some of the process to help you better understand how things are handled.
Prior to the election each township/city holds a public accuracy test, which is open to the public, and they test the voting equipment. Once the public accuracy test is completed the program cards are sealed in the tabulator where they remain until after the election. The seal numbers are recorded on a certification of testing and signed by all parties. On election morning those seal numbers are recorded in the pollbook. The Board of Canvassers compare the test certificate seal numbers with the seal numbers recorded in the pollbook to ensure that the numbers match and no one has tampered with the program cards from the date of testing to election day.
The canvassers also look at the list of voters and compare that number with the number of ballots that were cast in each precinct. If you hear a precinct is “out of balance” that means the number of voters and number of ballots cast did not match. At the end of the canvass meeting there were zero precincts in Clare County “out of balance”.
Clare County does use the Dominion voting equipment. We are a little different than most counties because we program our own election cards. We do not send them out to Dominion or Election Source to be programmed. We program our own election, and each township/city tests their own ballots to ensure accuracy of the program cards. We have experienced some difficulty with the township/cities modeming in so I instructed the township/city clerks to try once on election night and if it did not transmit then they were to bring their tabulator cards into the county where we would pull the data from the program cards ourselves. There were a few township/cites that were not able to modem in on election night and we pulled their data from their cards while they waited.
On election night the election inspectors working the election will run a tabulator tape immediately following the closing of the polls. This tabulator tape prints the election results from that precinct and that tabulator. That tape is sealed in an envelope, signed by two election inspectors of different political parties, and delivered to the County Clerk or Probate Judge by two election inspectors of different political parties where it remains until the next day when the Board of Canvassers meet. At the Board of Canvass meeting the tape from election night is compared to the election totals printed out by the County Clerk to confirm the report totals and the tabulated totals match.
Once the Board of Canvassers certify the election the Canvassers sign the final results that are then sent to the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections to go before the State Board of Canvassers. The State Board of Canvassers have also certified the Michigan election results.
I hope this clarifies some of the election process for you. If you have any questions, please call my office and I would be happy to answer any questions you have 989-539-7131.