Sen. Runestad testifies on election transparency bills

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Wednesday testified in front of the Senate Elections Committee on two bills he sponsored to improve transparency in elections.

“These two measures will improve transparency, accountability and ultimately confidence in our elections,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Making the vote tabulating and auditing process as open and transparent as possible is important to protecting our elections. These are commonsense reforms to help make sure it is easier to vote and harder to cheat.

“Shielding our elections processes from the people only serves to sow doubts, cause division and create a corrupt environment. Shedding light on the processes and allowing the people to participate encourages unity and confidence in the system.”

Senate Bills 275 and 276 would increase transparency in the election process by increasing the public transparency and openness during both the tabulating and auditing of election results.

SB 275 would establish that individuals from each political party may attend, observe and record videos of the process when a voting precinct is randomly selected for an election audit. It would also permit a local clerk to provide live video coverage of a county, city or township vote tabulation process coverage and prescribe procedures and retention requirements.

SB 276 would permit authorized partisan election inspectors, election challengers and poll watchers to photograph and videotape the tabulating of votes after an election. The changes would only apply to the tabulation of votes and would ensure that voters’ privacy and right to a secret ballot are protected.

“It is so important that we make sure both sides can properly view the counting and auditing of ballots,” Runestad said. “If we don’t have confidence in our elections, we don’t have anything. These commonsense improvements to election security, transparency and fairness will help curb fraud and help make our elections as honest as possible.”

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimRunestad.com/photos.

Photo caption: Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, testifies in front of the Senate Elections Committee on Senate Bills 275 and 276, his measures to increase integrity in the election process by increasing the public transparency and openness during both the tabulating and auditing of election results.