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County canvassers begin certifying vote totals after midterm elections

A bunch of "I Voted" stickers on a white background
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The votes have been counted after Tuesday's elections, but they’re still not official as county boards have begun the process of certifying the November election results.

County canvassing boards will match up ballot applications with the number of votes cast. If the numbers match, the election is certified. Where there are discrepancies, they need to be cleared up.

“It is a very detailed process,” said Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck. “We have 14 calendar days to conduct a canvass and in a large election like this one, oftentimes boards of state canvassers will use the entire 14 days, including weekends.”

The four-person boards are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Certification requires bipartisan agreement. The boards, with bipartisan agreements, can also correct clerical errors.

“It’s all under their supervision in that bipartisan team and they are the ones who sign off on that final total, that final official result,” said Roebuck.

Once the results are certified, candidates can challenge the results or seek recounts.
The county boards must have their work done by November 22.

The final step will take place at the November 28 meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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