KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Tuesday was Election Day for many counties in West Michigan, and as voters cast their ballots, one county has been working on increasing transparency when it comes to results.
It was the first Election Day with Kalamazoo County using its new website that should provide more transparency to voters as they await results.
The Kalamazoo County Clerk Meredith Place said she wants to regain voters' trust by offering up these details in real-time.
"I think that it is incredibly important that we provide the information that we have to the public. If we have an opportunity to be more transparent, then we need to do that," said Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register of Deeds Meredith Place.
The new website offers a more transparent way to communicate the results of all elections within the county.
"The website includes now for the first time ever the number of registered voters, the poll book totals, the turnout percentage and then by contest and by precinct, the total number of ballots broken out by ballots cast by absentee and Election Day at the polls," said Place.
Previously, voters could only see the number of registered voters and the number of votes per precinct, per contest.
CHECK IT OUT: Kalamazoo County unveiled a new website that will increase transparency in communicating the results of all elections in Kalamazoo County.— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) August 3, 2021
Once the polls close at 8 p.m., you can view the tabulation process in real time as you await results. https://t.co/tomP0QTyCp pic.twitter.com/XXOZUYu1pZ
In November 2020, the election's unofficial results weren't available until over 24 hours after the polls closed.
This gave people a false view of who winners and losers were, as not all absentee ballots had been tabulated even when the results showed 100% of precincts had been reported.
"What we have the ability to do is that we have the ability through this website is to show the public exactly where we are at in the ballot tabulation process," said Place.
That includes the absentee ballot tabulation as well. Place said voter behavior has changed to where her office is seeing more people cast their ballots ahead of time.
With those absentee ballots, she said it takes more time to get the results. This is because the office can't begin counting them until the day of the election which is why this new system will help out.
"Anything that we have that can be accessible by the voters, we are happy to share it. I hope that more information shows the voters and reestablishes our public trust and confidence in our election system," said Place.
In Kalamazoo County, voters in the Portage Public Schools District and in Charleston Township cast ballots for the August Special Election.
For more information or to watch the results come in in real-time after the polls close, you can click here.