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City of Grand Rapids Clerk explains absentee ballot vote count process

Absentee Voter Drop Box photo
Associated Press

After all the votes were counted, Kent County voted for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. A Michigan judge has dismissed a Trump campaign complaint that campaign observers were denied access to the count process. WGVU spoke with City of Grand Rapids Clerk about the absentee ballot counting process.

“Absentees take a long time. So, in-person voting the voter does all the work, you know, they take a ballot, they vote it, they put it in the tabulator. This is a lot of person-power to do an absentee ballot; to open an envelop, to take the sleeve out, to match the stub, to take the stub off, to flatten the ballot, to move it to a tabulator, to put it through the tabulator, to bring it back, to seal it in the bag. It is a time intensive process and you multiply that times 59,000 some.

We asked what is the process? How do people know that it's fair?

“We've had lots of members of the media with us the whole time. So, usually if we have maybe a counting board and it wasn't a very big turnout, you know, we would be done by 8 o'clock and no media could watch it and no public could watch it. They could come and go. This process has been so far wide open, that the media has been there. I’m sure a lot of your listeners have watched television they’ve seen the process. They can see all the tabulators working and people working frantically to get this done. We opened up the process this time.”

Is there a representative from each party who is there a while this is happening?

“There’s challengers. So, challengers can be in the counting boards. They're watching. They’re over the shoulder of all the workers of what they're doing and checking it out asking questions.”

Grand Rapids City Clerk Joel Hondorp, thank you for your time.