Special election called 'good practice' for new Ottawa County vote collection process

Special election called 'good practice' for new Ottawa County vote collection process
Posted at 6:02 AM, May 03, 2023

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Unofficial election results in Ottawa County are going to take longer to get this election.

Shortly before Tuesday's election, Ottawa County opted to change the way votes are delivered to the Clerks Office. It's an effort to ensure security by turning back the clock on technology.

RELATED: Michigan Special Election Results

Ottawa County deputized several people to pick up counts from the precincts.

FOX 17 got to follow along with Katie Bard, an administrative specialist from the Ottawa County Clerk's Office, as she made her first stop in Zeeland.

Katie Bard takes vote tabulator USB at Zeeland polling place

She and several other deputized people personally went to cities and township clerks across the county to collect results.

Here's the process—

A local clerk takes the USB out of the tabulator and seals them into pouches with a g-p-s tracker using a state-approved device that looks like a zip tie.

Finally - a couple of signatures and a date and time, then it's time to move on to the next location.

State-approved security device being used in Ottawa County new vote collection process

The process took about ten minutes.

"So everything we're doing right now is just to make sure that we are doing our best to have the most secure process that we can," Bard told us. "And so we have extra measures in place including the deputizes employees and this GPS trackers that will watch us travel from our locations and make sure that we go right back to the county office with all those unofficial results."

The previous method? Clerks would electronically send the count to the clerk's office.

Given the extra steps involved with this new method, it might take longer to get the unofficial results, but the Ottawa County Clerk feels this special election is a good practice ahead of the presidential election in 2024.