What clerks are doing to ensure a safe midterm elections

Working under a microscope following the 2020 elections, local clerks are taking steps to prevent fraud and tampering in the upcoming November election.

sign that reads "vote here, city clerk" with an american flag

A voting sign advertises First Congregational Church as a place for people to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Aug. 2, in Detroit. Photo by Nate Pappas, WDET.

,

County clerks are the first line of defense for our democracy — ensuring that votes are counted accurately and are tasked with calling out foul play when it occurs. But since the 2020 election, they have been threatened and harassed for simply doing their jobs.

As a result, clerks have had to do more to recruit honest poll workers and earn the trust of the general public. All this is happening while bad actors who support baseless election conspiracies are trying to become poll workers or work in county clerk offices.


Related: CuriosiD: Are Detroit election officials prepared for another ‘stop the count’ protest?


In February of this year, Michigan’s county clerks wrote an open letter to state leaders requesting more support for their work. They asked for more transparency in allowing the public to see the pre- and post-voting process, as well as having more “functional structure” to promote early voting.

“There are so many elements of our process that are considered bipartisan. You have to have the two major political parties represented, and that’s a really important piece of this.” — Justin Roebuck, clerk


Listen: What county clerks are expecting with midterms coming up.

 


Guest

Lisa Brown is a Democrat and the Oakland County clerk. She says the clerk’s office has shared possible felonies and misdemeanors with the public and local police officers.

“The one thing that we did different this year,” says Brown, “is we shared a list of misdemeanors and felonies that occur on election day — or that could occur on election day — like disrupting an election, doing something in a precinct, unplugging a tabulator.”

Justin Roebuck is a Republican and the Ottawa County clerk. He says that he hopes every voter feels safe, and part of that is having both parties represented in the process.

“There are so many elements of our process that are considered bipartisan,” says Roebuck. “You have to have the two major political parties represented, and that’s a really important piece of this.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »

Authors

  • Detroit Today

    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

  • Sam Corey

    Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.