Thursday, February 9, 2023

E.L. voting records sealed, recount closer

November 16, 2000

Republican Congressman-elect Mike Rogers is busy picking out an office in Washington, D.C., and electing new leadership for Congress.

But his opponent for the 8th Congressional District seat, state Sen. Dianne Byrum, D-Onondaga, is keeping busy with office plans of her own.

Byrum will be asking for a recount, and possibly a revote, after the Nov. 27 certification of the election by the State Board of Canvassers. A recount could alter the 152-vote difference between the Congress hopefuls, changing the outcome of the election. In preparation, the East Lansing voting records were sealed by the Ingham County Board of Canvassers on Tuesday as evidence for potential court cases.

“Those need to be protected in case someone wants to file a court case on behalf of the people who couldn’t vote,” said Alan Fox, a member of the Ingham County Board of Canvassers. “There needs to be a guarantee that those records haven’t been tampered with.”

The records include the affidavits of people who tried to vote Nov. 7, but were turned away because their names did not appear on the voter list.

Adam Wright, Byrum’s press secretary, said the campaign has heard from dozens of students who tried to vote but were unable to. Although he is unsure how many of these students would have voted for Byrum, they are the reason behind the request for a recount.

“No matter who should have won, this is something we should be concerned about,” Wright said. “With the margin of 152 votes, (a recount) would probably affect the outcome.

“(Byrum) feels this should come to a conclusion, but to an accurate conclusion.”

Fox said a recount in Michigan would not be as complicated as a recount in other states and he doesn’t expect the results of the election to change.

“In Michigan, the punch cards hold very, very well,” Fox said. “The punch cards are examined by an election inspector in the precinct, unlike in Florida, where they are just put in the box.”

However, a revote could have a great impact on the election results.

Michigan law says a revote can be held in a precinct if there is a malfunction in the equipment. The courts must decide if complications with the Qualified Voter File, a database that combines voter registration records with records of licensed drivers across the district, counts as a malfunction.

Sylvia Warner, Rogers’ press secretary, said the campaign doesn’t expect a revote to happen and is continuing to help Rogers prepare for his term in Washington.

“We’re not surprised that (Byrum) asked for a recount,” she said. “Based on what I’m seeing and hearing from the secretary of state, it doesn’t sound like there are grounds under the law for a revote.

“I think the election officials did an admirable job, and we are moving forward.”

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