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Michigan election officials outline certification procedures ahead of midterms

Penn State
Voting booths

Michigan officials are trying to get ahead of misinformation by explaining the process of certifying elections ahead of next month’s midterms.

County canvassing boards certify results and send those to the Michigan Secretary of State andBureau of Elections.

Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck said issues typically get worked out at the local level before election results move up the chain.

“For example, the board of county canvassers has the authority to subpoena ballots for lack of a better term. They can order that ballots be delivered to the county board of canvassers from the local clerk's office,” said Roebuck, a Republican.

He said county boards are responsible for going through precinct records to make sure vote totals line up. They then tally the numbers and pass their results along to the Board of State Canvassers.

State board Vice-Chair Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a Democrat, said it’s her group’s job to double check everyone’s work and give final certification.

“We are simply putting it together. If anyone suspects, accuses, makes any accusation of election fraud, that’s not something that the canvassers consider. That’s something to be taken to law enforcement authorities,” she said.

The state board is bipartisan, composed of two Democrats and two Republicans.

In 2020, board members faced pressure to not certify the election from people seeking to overturn the results.

Board of State Canvassers chair Tony Daunt said that’s not really the board’s call to make. He described his group’s duty as “ministerial” in that it only certifies elections based on the numbers before it.

Daunt, a Republican, said people should have faith that the results have already gone through multiple checks before they get to his board.

“This is results coming to us for us to finish the certification so that our results are final. And if there are questions from either side from parties involved in the elections, they have remedies for that. They have the ability to request a recount, they have ability to take their claims to court,” Daunt said.

Michigan’s midterm election is November 8.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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