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We can count on election integrity — here’s why

By Jan A. Miller

2021, Benzie Democrats recruited me to apply for a position on the County Board of Canvassers. I was welcomed to the team of two Republicans and two Democrats by then-County Clerk Dawn Olney. We newbies took an oath of office prior to conducting our first vote count certification last fall. Canvassers perform many vital election-related duties. We conduct recounts, inspect ballot containers and resolve claims about malfunctioning voting machines and defective ballots (Remember those hanging chads?). In April, we were again summoned to inspect ballot containers from Benzonia, Blaine, Crystal Lake, Gilmore and Lake townships and the City of Frankfort. We opened and closed metal bins, checked that they were secure, confirmed their approved locking systems and foam linings, and then passed or rejected them. The containers that passed by the four of us were marked “approved” by attaching seals (like luggage tags) with our signatures, guaranteeing they’d been inspected and were safe and secure for storing ballots. We also inspected zippered canvas bags used for ballot storage. The townships’ elections officials were with us, guaranteeing transparency. This one canvasser activity shows how a bipartisan group inspects every aspect of election security. Our single job was seeing to the integrity of ballot containers. Our neighbors, exercising their voting rights, depend on our guarantee. If any container is defective, officials can point fingers at us. We affixed our signatures on those seals. Talk about your sacred duty ... Making the segue back to the 2020 presidential election, the boards of canvassers in every state and territory in the U.S. were tasked with certifying the results of the election and passing their findings to their secretaries of state. ■ On Nov. 12, 2020, six days after the election, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a statement, along with other agencies and organizations that partnered with CISA for that election: “The November 3rd [2020] election was the most secure in American history.” After that, VOX, a news and opinion website, noted it contradicted then president Donald Trump, who made — and still makes — baseless allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud. Those allegations fly in the face of the care, thought, precision and transparency that county boards of elections provide through their work. As VOX says on its website, Trump’s false claims and his “big lie” are often bolstered by right-wing media and Trump allies. They have yet to point to evidence. Repeating such falsehoods undermines faith in the safety and security of U.S. elections.

Consider the procedures canvassers around the state and the country perform. Add to that the almost countless pre-election tests, state and federal certifications of voting equipment, paper records of every vote and the ability to fully recount when necessary. I know because I’m part of the voting integrity process in my county, what CISA concluded is true: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. We have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too.” https://www.cisa. gov/news/2020/11/12/ joint-statement elections- infrastructure-government-coordinating council election About the author: Jan A. Miller, from Benzonia, is a retired public relations executive.


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