KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Wendy Schutz showed up at the Expo Center on Lake Street Tuesday morning because she wanted to be a part of election history. She was among the dozens of people who volunteered to partake in the election recount for Kalamazoo County.
“It's been really busy,” said Schutz, 43, during an interview at the Expo Center. “It’s been very productive also. There’s a lot of people here.”
There were 120 volunteers to be exact. County Clerk Tim Snow said it was more than they anticipated but he’s grateful they all came. It made the recounting process move along smoothly.
“We had to set up more tables,” said Clerk Snow with a smile. “It was a great problem to have. We have 63 tables going today.”
At each of the tables were seated four volunteers, each of them going through 128,000 ballots and 98 separate absentees ballots. Clerk Snow said they did a great job following the instructions they received during training.
“They have to count the ballots multiple times to make sure that it all balances,” said Clerk Snow. “Then we have to count them again according to the candidates. So they’re handling the ballots quite a few times today.”
Dale Harrison, who drove in from Oshtemo Township for the recount, said he was excited to participate. It was tedious but he had "great" partner working with him.
“Recount sounds pretty simple but I'm surprised how involved it is,” said the 69-year-old who use to work for the county. “It’s a team effort really.”
Volunteers worked non-stop since 9 a.m., taking a few breaks throughout the day and were even served lunch. By 6pm, they’d gone through all the ballots and were done with the recount. Soon they’ll get paid for their efforts. But that’s now why they came, Schutz said.
“Having the recount and proving that our system is accurate, is part of what's going on here,” she said. “It’s not about the party, democrat, republican or others parties. It's about just the voting system.”