The national headlines this week are filled with reports and rumors of possible voting machine manipulation — did or did not Russian hackers somehow alter the presidential election? But city clerks in the cities of Kentwood and Wyoming are confident in local voting numbers and want to assure local voters of local voting integrity.
“Wyoming voters can rest assured that every ballot cast has been counted and counted accurately,” Kelli VandenBerg, city clerk for the City of Wyoming. said this week. “We have a number of safeguards in place to assure that voters can have confidence that their ballots are processed properly.”
Kentwood City Clerk Dan Kasunic agreed, and said the bottom line reason is that the State of Michigan uses paper ballots that are tabulated at each precinct using stand-alone tabulation machines, voting machines — and the “tabulators are never connected to the internet.”
“So much of the national controversy has been over other types of ballots or the transmission of results,” VandenBerg said.
Before election day, each precinct’s and county board’s paper ballet tabulators are tested for accuracy — “there is a public test prior to each election, for the public to attend, to prove the accuracy,” Kasunic said.
Voting data cards are sealed in each tabulator by the city clerk before the election. Each seal has a number that is recorded in a paper poll book. The seal number is verified by the precinct workers before the polls open on election day.
“When the polls close at the end of election day, precinct workers print a tape of the results before the card is removed from the tabulator,” VandenBerg said. “The card is then sealed in a transfer bag that comes to (Wyoming) City Hall. That numbered seal is cut and then the data is downloaded and transmitted to the county.”
After votes are tabulated, all ballots are then sealed and stored in a secure location.
“All memory cards are sealed and recorded so they cannot be tampered,” Kasunic said. “The memory cards are complied within the city on a program and then sent by email to the county, and the memory cards are sent to the county. So they have both the tapes from each tabulator and the memory cards”
In addition to the safeguards to protect the electronic data, there are safeguards in place to protect the paper ballots.
“At the end of election day, the paper ballots are removed from the tabulator and sealed in approved ballot containers,” Vandenberg said. “The ballots remain sealed and in the clerk’s custody for the appropriate retention period. In this case the election involved a federal race, so the retention period is 22 months.”