In preparation for a vote on local tax assessments last week in Houghton County, Mich., county clerk Jennifer Kelly took extraordinary precautions, asking election staff in this remote northern Michigan community to record the serial numbers of voting machines, document the unbroken seals on tabulators and document in writing that no one had tampered with the equipment.
In the southeastern part of the state, Michael Siegrist, clerk of Canton Township, followed similar steps, even organizing public seminars to explain how ballots are counted.
Despite their efforts, they said they could not fend off an ongoing torrent of false claims and suspicions about voting procedures that have ballooned since former president Donald Trump began his relentless attacks on the integrity of the 2020 election last year.
“People still complained about our Dominion voting machines, about the need for more audits and most of all they complained about the use of Sharpies,” Siegrist said, referring to the widely used pen, which has become the focus of a conspiracy theory gripping Trump supporters in Arizona and other states.
“It used to be fun to be an election clerk, but it isn’t any more,” he added.