GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – During the 2020 presidential election, there were many people who were up in arms over what happened in Wayne County in Detroit at the TCF Center when poll challengers weren’t able to get into the facility.
Some of those who did enter the building ended up submitting affidavits concerning voter fraud.
There were other counties of concern where voters were unsure if their votes were counted correctly or if voter irregularities had occurred.
With all of the uncertainty, one may assume that if the voters were given the opportunity to watch their precinct’s voting equipment being tested in front of their eyes, they would jump at the opportunity.
But according to Votebeat Michigan, a nonprofit news organization, that doesn’t appear to have taken place. In addition, Fox 17 in West Michigan reports very few people ever attend.
Before today’s primary, election officials statewide have been holding public events, demonstrating testing of their election machines and processes. These are called the Public Logic & Accuracy Tests.
The election workers, who put the mock ballots through the voting machines, test about 40 ballots at a time and at the end of the demonstration had to make sure that every legitimate ballot was counted correctly.
The election workers were purposely given challenging ballots so they would know what to do in different scenarios. They were given blank ballots, ballots that had too many candidates chosen in one race, ballots that crossed party lines and other ballots that the machines wouldn’t accept.
These tests are mandated by state law to make sure the machines are reliable, accurate, ready to receive ballots and that they can be properly counted. They are conducted to ensure the accuracy of the equipment as well as give the public an opportunity to see how the tabulators are operated.
These tests offered transparency and a venue where questions could be asked but the attendance at these tests was sparse or non-existent.
In Oakland county, with a population of over 1.2 million people, only one voter took advantage of the invitation to watch the tabulators being tested. In Port Huron, no one showed up.
At the City Hall in Wyoming near Grand Rapids, the attendance consisted of two League of Women Voters volunteers and one community member. In Spencer Township, one League of Women Voters volunteer attended the test.
In Grand Traverse County, attendance of voters was also low with most of the people showing up being election workers. Michigan News Source observed tests in Garfield Township and the precinct observed had the mock ballots run through an absentee voting machine that counts 90 ballots a minute. After putting the same ballots through the voting tabulator that is used by the voters, the count matched up perfectly in the end. Most of the submitted ballots were accepted and the voting screen said “Thank you for voting. Your ballot has been counted.”
However, there were a few ballots that weren’t accepted by the tabulator including one that came up with a message on the screen that said, “voting machine is not programmed for your ballot.”
This ballot turned out to be from Acme Township not Garfield Township which means someone would have left their precinct in Acme Township with their ballot, gotten in their car and driven over to a different township to vote.
Although this scenario seems farfetched, Garfield Township County Clerk Lanie McManus explained, “we have to test for every single scenario.”
Tracy Wimmer, spokesperson for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, said that there haven’t been any notable glitches or potential problems reported from any of the local election departments’ tabulators or tests that were done other than correctible human error.
The attendance of these tests seems to be a mixture of both apathy and bad PR. Oakland County advertised the tests in a press release, a local newspaper ad, social media posts and an email list and that only attracted one voter to attend.
On the other end of the spectrum, there was no press release about the tests sent out by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that went out concerning the tests and there is no press release about them on the state’s website. Only one reporter at MNS even heard of the test, even though they are immersed in politics and receive press releases throughout the day.