89.1 WEMU

Ever Wonder What It Takes To Put Together A Local Election?

Oct 8, 2018

Election equipment set up for election workers to use in one of many training sessions before the election.
Credit Lisa Barry

For some people, just getting out to vote takes a lot of effort.  They may never think about or realize exactly what goes in to putting a local election together.  89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry takes you behind the voting curtain to learn about just how much time and preparation goes in to putting together an election in Washtenaw County, so residents can exercise their right to vote.


Washtenaw County elections director Ed Golembiewski says putting together an election for voters in Washtenaw County is an ongoing, year-round process.  The county elections director says efforts for the upcoming November election really began to intensify last spring when candidates met the filing deadline.  Then, primary elections were held in August, and then it was time to program the ballot.

Washtenaw County elections director Ed Golembiewski talks to election workers at a recent training session.
Credit Lisa Barry

Deputy county clerks Trish Reilly and Reyanne Gallippo proof all of the data that they have in put into the ballot programming software to make sure that everything is laid out correctly and that all of the districts that are assigned to precincts are assigned correctly.

Ann Arbor City clerk Jackie Beaudry stands in front of their election “to do” list timeline
Credit Lisa Barry

While the ballot is being proofed and programmed, another deputy county clerk, Edwin Peart, reads the ballot as he enters it into a software program that can be used by disabled voters.  Then, they must wait for certification of state ballot proposals and all the candidates on the state level before they can officially be put on the ballot.  Then, according to Golembiewski, it gets another “review” by a local commission.

Washtenaw County elections director Ed Golembiewski
Credit Lisa Barry

Ann Arbor city clerk Jackie Beaudry sent out first mailing of 4,000 absentee ballots about ten days.  Among them are several hundred ballots going to voters overseas.

First batch of absentee ballots being mailed from Ann Arbor City clerks office.
Credit Lisa Barry

Matt Morrow is an administrative assistant at the Ann Arbor city clerk’s office and works with the city clerk to get the ballots delivered correctly and on time.  Then, the county elections director and Ann Arbor city clerk work to train hundreds of election inspectors.

Edwin Peart reading the names into the software for disabled voters.
Credit Lisa Barry

Months of work involving many different people lead to a 13-hour voting day, where citizens have the chance to decide their fate and future on the next election day November 6th.

Ann Arbor City Clerk's Office
Credit Lisa Barry

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu