Press Release: Washtenaw County Prepared for Election day

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Washtenaw County election administrators, poll workers, and public safety officials are prepared for Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Polling locations will be open to voters from 7:00 am – 8:00 pm.

Washtenaw County Director of Elections Ed Golembiewski states:

“Washtenaw County Elections Division officials have closely partnered with City and Township Clerks, the Michigan Bureau of Elections, County Sheriff’s office, County Information Technology Services, and other local, state, and federal supporting agencies to prepare for this election. These enduring partnerships and efforts ensure our ability to administer elections successfully.”

State, county, city and township officials partner to ensure election preparedness, including:

Public Safety on Election Day

As during previous high-profile elections, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s office will increase the number of deputies assigned to election detail on November 8 and will readily respond to calls from polling locations, if necessary. The Washtenaw County Clerk’s office has encouraged city and township officials to work closely with local law enforcement agencies to prepare, as well.

Deputies are trained to identify activity that violates laws prohibiting voter intimidation or harassment.

No specific, credible threats to public safety are known to election nor public safety officials at this time and no significant incidents are expected. Nevertheless, officials prepare for contingencies out of an abundance of caution.

Voters are encouraged to report intimidation, harassment, or coercion to a poll worker, election official, or contact the nonpartisan election protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.

Poll Worker Recruitment & Training

More than 1,600 Poll Workers will serve at polling locations and Absent Voter Count Boards across Washtenaw County on November 8.

Poll workers have received thorough training from the County Clerk’s office and/or their city or township Clerk. They are prepared to:

  • Properly open and close their polling location
  • Issue ballots and process voters
  • Keep careful records of the list of voters and account for every ballot issued
  • Follow emergency public health orders and sanitization protocol
  • Know what types of photo identification are acceptable and to provide an affidavit to voters that do not possess valid photo ID
  • Direct voters to their city or township Clerk’s office if they have not yet registered to vote
  • Count every valid vote

Poll workers are instructed how to identify acceptable poll watcher, challenger, and campaigning activity – and to act if they observe activity that violates the law, including escalating concerns to senior election officials and law enforcement if necessary.

Washtenaw County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum states:

“Washtenaw County residents have answered the call to serve as poll workers. This year, more than 300 individuals have expressed their interest in serving as a poll worker through the county’s recruitment tool. Many others have signed up through the Michigan Secretary of State’s Democracy MVP Program and have contacted City and Township Clerk’s offices directly. Poll workers play a critical role in administering this election and I am grateful for their commitment to serving their community.”

Voter and Poll Worker Health

Washtenaw County is currently at a “medium” Covid-19 Community Level.

Every polling location in Washtenaw County will have personal protective equipment on-site for use by poll workers and voters, including disposable masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray/wipes, and other materials.

Poll workers and voters are encouraged but not required to wear a mask or face-covering inside the polling place. Poll workers have been trained to make hand sanitizer and masks available to voters and to follow best practices for setting up their polling place to allow for social distancing.

Expanded City/Township Clerk Hours for Voting Prior to Election Day

It is not too late to vote early by casting an Absent Voter Ballot or register to vote!

Every city and township Clerk’s office in Washtenaw County is open this week and will be open for at least 8 hours this weekend to receive in-person requests to register to vote and for voters who want to vote early by casting an Absent Voter Ballot.

Voters can visit Michigan.gov/Vote to find the location and weekend office hours of their Clerk. A list of city/township Clerks and their weekend office hours is also available at Washtenaw.org/Elections.

Absentee Voting

To obtain an absentee ballot voters must request the ballot from the Clerk in the city or township they live in. Voters can visit Michigan.gov/Vote to find the location and office hours of their Clerk. A list of city/township Clerks and their weekend office hours is also available at Washtenaw.org/Elections.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot in-person is Monday, November 7 at 4:00 pm. The deadline to request a ballot online or by mail is Friday, November 4 at 5:00 pm, however voters are encouraged to visit their Clerk in-person to be sure the ballot is received in time to be voted and returned by 8:00 pm on Election Day.

To date 93,195 voters in Washtenaw County have been issued an absentee ballot for the upcoming election. 55,548 ballots have been returned.

Absentee ballots must be received by 8:00 pm on Election Day to be counted. Voters who are still in possession of their absentee ballot are encouraged to vote and return it in-person as soon as possible.

Absentee ballots can be delivered to an approved Absent Voter Ballot Dropbox location in the voter’s city or township or directly to the city/township Clerk’s office.

It’s important that ballots are returned to the proper location. Voters can find their ballot delivery locations at Michigan.gov/Vote.

While absentee ballots can also be returned by mail to the address printed on the return envelope, voters are encouraged to deliver their ballot in-person to ensure it is received by 8:00 pm on Election Day.

All absentee ballots are tabulated on Election Day following a strict process that involves confirming that election officials have verified each voter has properly signed their absentee ballot return envelope and the unique ballot number issued to the voter matches the Clerk’s record. The secrecy of the voter’s ballot is maintained throughout this process.

A recently enacted law allows cities and townships with a population of 10,000 or more to pre-process (but not tabulate) absentee ballots during the two days prior to Election Day, to help efficiently process the large volume of absentee ballots issued this election. Three jurisdictions in Washtenaw County will do so. Pre-processing must be conducted by trained poll workers under supervision from the city or township Clerk.

Election Night Results Reporting

Unofficial election results reported by the Washtenaw County Clerk’s office after the polls close at 8:00 pm on November 8, 2022 will include results from in-person voting precincts as well as the results of Absent Voter Ballots received by the close of the polls. Results from absentee ballots submitted by 8:00 pm on Election Day will be reported as soon and as often as they are received until counting is complete.

Washtenaw County election results can be viewed at Washtenaw.org/Elections.

Election Security & Results Certification

Michigan voters are provided with a paper ballot which can easily be recounted or auditing after the election. Paper ballots afford a secure method of voting.

City and Township Election Commissions conduct through logic and accuracy testing of every ballot tabulator to ensure that they will accurately count paper ballots on Election Day. This testing is open to the public to observe.

Bi-partisan boards of poll workers are appointed to process voters and count ballots, both in-person and in Absent Voter Count Boards. Poll workers are community residents who are carefully trained to follow election law and procedure.

After the polls close, poll workers certify returns to the City, Township and County Clerk as well as the bi-partisan Board of County Canvassers. The Board of County Canvassers thoroughly reviews election returns from every voting precinct to ensure that that the list of voters accurately corresponds to the number of ballots cast. After, the County Board of Canvassers delivers returns to the bi-partisan State Board of Canvassers who provides a final review and certifies state and federal races.

Pursuant to election law, post-election audits will be performed in at least 10 randomly selected precincts in Washtenaw County after the election. These audits examine the entirety of the election administration process, including work conducted by Clerks prior to Election Day and by poll workers on Election Day. The audits include a hand-count of ballots to ensure the accuracy of reported results.

For more information visit Washtenaw.org/Elections, Michigan.gov/Vote, or call the Washtenaw County Clerk’s office Elections Division at 734-222-6730.

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