More poll watchers expected; clerk has 'no concern of election rigging'

The presidential race appears to be driving enthusiasm for a certain group of volunteers at the polls.

HOLLAND, MICH. - The presidential race appears to be driving enthusiasm for a certain group of volunteers at the polls.

More people are showing interest in being "poll watchers" in the election, which is 22 days from now. The watchers keep an eye out on irregularities at polling sites.

At Ottawa County Republican headquarters, all eyes were on stuffing voter guides Monday, Oct. 17. However, in three weeks, the focus for many people will switch to watching the polls instead.

"This is my first time coming into a political office, first time door knocking, stuffing voter guides, and I was just really interested in the poll watching as well," says Danielle Cano, a volunteer for the Ottawa County Republican Party.

In fact, local Republican leaders expect more than 100 poll watchers this election.

"If anything, the enthusiasm is higher this year, so volunteer recruitment has been a little easier because of that," says Carly Nelson, executive director of the Ottawa County Republican Party. 

Each party is allowed two poll watchers or challengers per precinct.

"What I think we'll see this time is more precincts involved," says Justin Roebuck, the Ottawa County clerk. 

It comes as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's repeated claims over the weekend that the election would be rigged.

"I definitely don't believe that, I really trust County Clerk Justin Roebuck has been preparing for this election," Nelson said.

Roebuck says: "I'm very confident of our elections here in Ottawa County and in Michigan to say we have no concern of election rigging.". 

Ottawa County Democratic leaders don't expect major change with poll watchers this election.

"I have no questions about the validity of the election process here," says Doug Zylstra, chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party.  "We don't have a candidate going out and saying the election may be rigged."

Leaders from both local parties say they are also focused on getting voters to the polls. 

The Ottawa County Republican Party will be holding a training session later this month for anyone who wants to be a poll watcher. The Ottawa County Democratic Party does not have a similar training planned at this point.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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