Our elections are fair, legislators should not make it harder to vote | #scams | #elderlyscams
I’ve spent my entire professional career working for financial institutions where process — and compliance — rule the day.
So about 13 years ago when the Lansing City Clerk’s Office asked people to volunteer to work the election I was quick to raise my hand. I felt it was my civic duty and I found I like working elections. I worked for Clerk Chris Swope and his team and, after moving to Delta Township, I’m now part of Township Clerk Mary Clark’s team.
I have served in every position available at a precinct, including being a chairperson. I like the mandated training sessions before EVERY election that teach us what, and what not, to do — so every vote is counted and every voice is heard.
I like working elections, even if it means getting up before dawn and working well past sunset. I like my Democrat and Republican colleagues. We share a common bond to help make sure elections are fair and honest by doing things the right way. Anyone who wants to experience this can signup through their local clerk to be an election worker.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when I read about “The Big Lie”— the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged, and that we need to make wholesale changes to ensure our elections are fair and honest — I had to ask: What are they talking about?
Our elections are fair. Our elections are honest. Our elections are conducted without widespread fraud. Just look at the countless lawsuits alleging fraud that have been dismissed by courts around the state, most recently in Antrim County. If that’s not enough, consider that more than 250 audits have been conducted and every one of them affirmed the integrity of the 2020 election.
Those of us who work elections appreciate that changes are needed — many of which the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks (MAMC) has asked state lawmakers to approve. Not only have legislative leaders failed to approve those requests, they’re doing just the opposite.
Some examples: They want to prohibit the early processing of absentee ballots, limit the use of drop boxes and mandate that every absentee ballot application be accompanied by a paper copy of the voter’s ID that local clerks would be required to keep on file for years.
Many states — including Florida — allow local election officials to process absentee ballots ahead of Election Day. Making drop boxes widely available last year was a brilliant move, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were concerned about their personal safety.
Finally, I have helped many a senior citizen with everything from balancing their checkbook to mailing-in their absentee ballot, following established ballot guidelines, of course! I know what seniors are worried about and identity theft tops the list.
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So why do state lawmakers want to force seniors — and other registered voters — to mail a copy of their personal ID with their absentee ballot application?
Such a requirement would subject them to potential identity theft and is unnecessary given clerks have been successfully verifying voters’ identity through their signature for years.
Without being political, it is hard to see how the changes being discussed at the state Capitol are anything more than an effort make it harder to vote, thereby discouraging you and me from exercising our constitutional right to vote.
Barbara Boyd is a long-time election worker in, and resident of Greater Lansing.