“‘Get to TCF’: What really happened inside Detroit’s ballot counting center”

Deep dive in the Detroit Free Press:

Chris Thomas, a former long-time director of elections for the Michigan Secretary of State, addressed the concerns of Republican challengers and debunked rumors of foulplay that circulated on social media.

Thomas, who has worked for both Democratic and Republican Secretaries of State, and who has offered constructive criticism of the Detroit clerk’s performance in previous elections, said he was “extremely confident” that Detroit’s final vote tally will be right.

 “They’re in a good position to come through with a nice clean report,” Thomas said. “I don’t have any questions about it.”

Thomas also debunked rumors that every Republican challenger had been removed from the counting room, and, that ballots were sneaked into the room in coolers and a wagon.

Neither were true, said Thomas, noting that had secret ballots arrived, Republican challengers inside the room would have raised a ruckus and he would have been notified. 

“I didn’t hear that,” Thomas said.

And there was no favoritism shown to any of the challengers, said Thomas,  who refuted claims that all Republican were removed. As he spoke, there were more than 100  Republican challengers still freely roaming the counting room, with only four tables left counting.

“Nobody was mistreated,” Thomas said, referring to all challengers.

Thomas, who has been working with Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey’s team to improve procedures, spent long hours overseeing the counting before heading out late Wednesday night. 

While at TCF, Thomas explained that election officials sought to make sure “that the rules are being followed,” and that challengers “have only 1 person per table at about 134 tables.”

“We just want to make sure that we don’t have too much chaos going on in here,” said Thomas, responding to Republicans’ allegations that they were unfairly left out of the process.  “People are trying to work, get the job done.”

Unfortunately, Thomas said, some challengers don’t understand the rules of the counting process.

“Challengers are usually confused” when they first arrive, he said. “A lot of them don’t know the intricacies of the process.”

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