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Citing primary debacle, Wayne County ditches real-time election results website

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
A polling location in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Wayne County is switching up the way it will report real-time results for Tuesday’s election. Officials say the county will bypass its usual website because of performance concerns.

The Grand Rapids-based company ElectionSource has hosted Wayne County’s interactive election reporting website since 2017.

That website posted inaccurate and fluctuating results during the August primary, before Wayne County clerk Cathy Garrett ordered it to go offline altogether.

The initial reporting issues caused a lot of confusion on primary night. They also undermined confidence in the accuracy of the final vote count, leading some to call for an audit of the county’s results.

ElectionSource blamed technical problems stemming from heavy web traffic. Wayne County clerk Cathy Garrett insisted there was no connection between the website problems and the actual vote counting process.

This week, Garrett announced that Wayne County will not use ElectionSource to report Tuesday’s results because with just a few days to go before the election, “ElectionSource has not completed the improvements and at this late juncture we are not going to utilize something that we haven’t been able to thoroughly test.”

“I’d rather have accuracy than a glossy presentation. An interactive web-based results page won’t matter if the information isn’t timely or properly displayed,” Garrett said in a statement.

Instead, Garrett’s office will periodically upload PDF files with unofficial results to its own website.

Detroit’s Lansing delegation called for a state audit of Wayne County’s primary election results, also citing widely-reported voting issues during Detroit’s August primary, including power outages and last-minute polling place changes. The Michigan Secretary of State declined to investigate.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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