Local election officials prepare for possible Michigan recount

Ottawa County says they would likely use paid election workers instead of volunteers to help count 144,000 ballots by hand.

HOLLAND, MICH. - The Ottawa County clerk's office says they would likely use paid election workers instead of volunteers to help count 144,000 ballots by hand should a Michigan recount move forward.

The ballots cast are kept by local clerks across the county. 

Holland's deputy city clerk, Anna Perales, showed us the locked room where the city's ballots are stored. She's one of only a few people with access to the room. 

"After the election, we bring it all in and then we lock it up," Perales said.

More: Michigan presidential recount? Here's what we know

The ballots are kept in bags that are sealed with tags from the state of Michigan. 

"No one should open or tamper with this," Perales said.

That's unless there's a recount. The Michigan Board of Canvassers certified President-elect Donald Trump's 10,000-vote victory Monday, Nov. 28. If a request for a recount is approved, then the Ottawa County clerk's office would collect all the ballots from local clerks.

"We have to go back in and count by hand all 144,000 ballots that were cast in Ottawa County," says Steve Daitch, elections coordinator for Ottawa County.

Daitch is already notifying precinct workers and others to be ready, but he says they likely won't be using volunteers.

"Volunteers aren't necessarily as familiar with the election process, and I think it's extremely important that every one of the things we have to do for this recount is exactly accurate," Daitch said.

He says a few dozen precinct workers would likely be involved. That's in addition to local clerks, county officials and the state bureau of elections.

"The Secretary of State's office will send folks over to each of the counties, and they're going to be overseeing that process," Daitch said.

One of the next steps is to find the right location for all the ballots to be recounted.

"We're looking for large facilities, places that can host not just all of the people who are going to be involved in the recount, but also all of the media, the campaigns, members of the public," Daitch said.

The ballots in Holland will remain sealed until the state approves otherwise.

"Whatever the state is instructing the county to do," Perales said.

Election officials say a recount would have to be filed by the end of the day on Wednesday. They don't have an exact timeline for when the process would begin. 

(© 2016 WZZM)


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