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LETTERS

‘I was an absentee-ballot counter, and this is what I learned’

A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections inspects an absentee ballot at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center on Nov. 4 in Detroit.
A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections inspects an absentee ballot at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center on Nov. 4 in Detroit.Elaine Cromie/Photographer: Elaine Cromie/Gett

I am so tired of hearing accusations of cheating and rigged elections. These people simply don’t know the facts. I spent Election Day as an absentee-ballot counter in my town, and this is what I learned.

The reason it takes so long to account for absentee ballots is that the process is so regimented, with many checks and balances, copious note-taking of everything we did, matching names to voter lists, counting envelopes, recounting envelopes, double-checking numbers and totals, and saving every envelope in special marked boxes.

This is not to mention the process of opening the ballot counter out of a locked suitcase, checking serial numbers, using different keys to open different parts of the ballot box, and constantly checking the running total of ballots we fed into the ballot box.

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I had to take an oath and sign my name, attesting to the accuracy of everything I did. We worked in pairs — one Democrat and one Republican. There was no talk of politics.

The process of counting absentee ballots leaves no room for fraud or cheating. When people who don’t like the results hurl unsubstantiated accusations at those in the trenches, it’s an insult to every poll worker who puts in countless hours to follow the process with honesty and integrity.

We live in a democracy, where everyone has the right to have his or her vote counted. People have been voting in this country for centuries. The system works. Unfortunately, for some people, it’s easier to accuse the winner of cheating than to graciously accept defeat.

Margie Huoppi

Pomfret Center, Conn.