Polling station

The US's largest election equipment manufacturer has begun quietly lobbying Congress to force all voting equipment to create a paper trail, a sharp departure after years of selling paperless digital machines that can't be fully audited. The change of stance comes amid concerns over the security of elections following Russia's interference effort in the 2016 presidential election.

In Mid-Michigan, county leaders are working around the clock to ensure safety for the Aug. 4 primary election.

“We think that we’re in a position to conduct a safe election at the polls on election day,” Saginaw County Clerk Mike Hanley said.

Hanley wants voters to know every step has been taken to ensure a safe in-person voting experience.

“All our poll workers will be masked and they’ll be sanitized. Their temperatures will be taken before they work and they’re encouraged to stay home if they’re not feeling well,” Hanley said.

Hanley said mask wearing is encouraged but won’t be enforced.

“The governor has specified that we cannot force voters to wear masks because that would be disenfranchisement and I don’t disagree with that decision. Hopefully voters will have the courtesy in the presence of other voters and poll workers to wear those masks,” Hanley said.

Hanley said a limited number of people will be allowed inside the polling place at one time. The polling booths will be spaced further apart to maintain social distancing.

Voters are also encouraged to bring their own pens.

Hanley said residents might want to avoid showing up to vote during busy times of the day.

“I know a lot of people show up at 7 a.m. on election day and that seems to be a time of peak demand. So if people can think twice about when they’re going to show up,” Hanley said.

Hanley was quick to point out absentee voting ballots are available right now. Just make sure to return them to the drop box at city and township halls no later than 8 p.m. on election day.

He also said all clerks’ offices in Saginaw County will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday for voting.

Hanley said it’s all in an effort to make sure people can take part in democracy without putting themselves in danger.

“We want to deliver for voters. We want people to feel comfortable when they come out to the polling place,” Hanley said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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