Michigan election destined for the microscope

A lot of mixed messages came through on Tuesday and Wednesday, from all sides. Stop. Hurry up. Be patient. Fight.

Incumbent President Donald J. Trump threatened to file suit in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting our state’s 2-million-plus absentee ballots. He encouraged supporters to “FIGHT BACK” against a “stolen election.” Later Wednesday evening, the conservative, legal-impact based Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society claimed eyewitness accounts of Michigan voter law violations in a downstate polling location.

But up north in our own Antrim County, population 23,557, asked for more time, and patience, to count Trump votes after initially showing “skewed” results, that put Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead, and Trump with single-digit returns. Trump handily won Antrim in 2016 with more than 60 percent of the votes.

Our Michigan election is headed for the microscope, and that’s neither terrible nor unusual.

We’re actually used to this, even though we tend to forget that every four years — even as our general election races get closer and closer. No, Michigan is no Florida (especially in the winter) but we did start a recount in 2016, though it was stopped by the same federal judge who ordered it, after determining Green Party candidate Jill Stein wasn’t “aggrieved enough.” Political maneuvers came from both sides, as Trump had won Michigan by only 11,000 votes, and wasn’t in favor of it.

But this is General Election 2020. So everyone is bound to be a little more on-edge.

We should remember, in those edgy moments, our turnout. People came out en force — either by mail or in person — in record-breaking numbers.

We came out because we believe in our country, and we believe in our election process. The numbers of voters, and the achingly close margins between our presidential candidates, waves this as if it were a flag.

This country belongs to us, not our politicians. And the election process, too, belongs to us. For that, we the people need to insist on accurate, fair elections.

Getting an accurate count and shining a light on any improprieties is in all of our best interests, whether or not our candidate emerges the victor. This is a number-crunching, clinical process. Violence, emotion, has no place in this accounting.

We showed in our turnout our belief in our process and its ability to get good numbers. In Antrim County, the election software didn’t match printed tabulated tapes from the precincts. That’s a fail-safe built in. Even so, ballots will need to be counted manually and double-checked. Then the canvassing begins to again, to verify results. This painstaking process will happen throughout our state and country.

A core, non-partisan belief in fairness, and free and accurate elections, is integral to our nation. Michigan will be under a microscope, but we believe in close looks, just as we believe in our process.

— Traverse City Record-Eagle


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