While tax proposals and candidates grabbed the headlines in Tuesday’s East Lansing election, it took election workers to make it all come together. That includes city employees as well as an army of people who worked from well below 7 a.m. when the polls opened until after they closed at 8 p.m.
Margie Ring was chair for Precinct 3, inside the Hannah Community Center on Abbot Road. Ring said the Election Day process for each voter and begins when they step in and fill out a small application. “We then go into the electronic pollbook to verify that their face matches their ID and that they’re registered in that specific precinct,” she said. Once that is verified, the ballot is issued and the voter votes.
When the voter is ready to submit their vote into the tabulator, a worker tears off the number at the top of the ballot. ‘We track the ballots because we want to make sure we account for every ballot, but we don’t track which person had which ballot.” Ring said.
When the long day of voting concludes, the workers hang on to all of the applications and run the vote tabulator. “We also run a totals tape and collect all the information and memory cards,” said Ring. “We bring it all to City Hall, where they tabulate all of the votes for the city. Then it goes onto the county from there.”
The security and credibility of the voting process came under attack after the presidential election a year ago. Charges that millions of votes had been faked have not been supported by evidence, but even unfounded accusations can shake voters’ confidence. Continuing stories of Russian meddling have not helped. These circumstances have prompted local election officials to go to lengths to ensure the integrity of voting.
Other duties given to election workers include rotating positions to get a feel for each part of the process, providing information and answering polling location questions at a “voter information” table, checking outside to make sure people aren’t campaigning within 100 feet, and checking to make sure voters leave nothing behind in the voting booths.