Letter to the Editor: Ottawa Impact needs to keep hands off our elections

Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck walks into the conference room Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.

I read with alarm that the chair of the Ottawa County Commission, Joe Moss, deferred action on approving funding requested by our county election official, Justin Roebuck, to implement early voting requirements that were overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of Michigan last November via proposal 2022-2.

The early voting plan that the BOC failed to act upon was created and supported by all municipalities in the county and has a tight deadline for implementation. Most alarmingly, Mr. Moss and Vice Chair Sylvia Rhodea apparently suggested alterations to the proposal to include public live-streaming of drop boxes and early voting sites.

I would consider these suggestions to be voter harassment and intimidation, not to mention the personal safety risks of live-streaming people who may be approaching drop boxes late at night. In addition to early voting requirements, Proposal 2022-2 included a prohibition against "harassing, intimidating or threatening conduct" and provides for individuals to bring actions for relief in the county circuit court.

Along with Mr. Roebuck’s suggestion that the BOC has no standing to craft election procedures, it seems that the BOC would be inviting litigation under current election law by intimidating voters by live-streaming them in the action of voting. The Ottawa County BOC should pass the funding requested to implement early voting as presented and approved by every clerk in Ottawa county, and should refrain from trying to add provisions that could harass and intimidate voters. Every citizen in this county should be alarmed that OI commissioners want to interfere with the work of duly elected, experienced election clerks.

Marsha Manning

Port Sheldon Township

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Letter to the Editor: Ottawa Impact needs to keep hands off our elections