Thursday, March 11, 2021

Canton clerk’s office wins honors for election innovations

Clerk Michael Siegrist
Election services in Canton Township were recently honored with a Clearinghouse Award for “Outstanding Innovations in Election Cybersecurity and Technology.” 

The award was specifically for the development of Four Tools to Enhance Election Services program developed in the office of Township Clerk Michael Siegrist.

The four-pronged program was developed in an effort to enhance election services, Siegrist explained. The program included a restaurant waitlist management software system to reduce voter lines and increase efficiency; an online election inspector training video series featuring knowledge-based forms; a campaign to combat misinformation by partnering with the media to produce educational video interviews on mail voting and election audits and leveraging FEMA resources such as the National Incident Management Systems training to better serve voters. 

Siegrist said these new approaches helped reinvent how his office interacts with the public.

“Last year put us all to the test. We had to find a way to safely run numerous elections during a pandemic at a time when voters were agitated by misinformation and disinformation,” Siegrist said. “We knew that trying to run the same old plays wouldn't work so we got busy thinking outside the box and embracing technology to make sure we could increase accessibility and relevance for voters.”

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced the recipients of the 2020 Clearinghouse Awards, also known as the “Clearie” Awards, for best practices in election administration. Established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the EAC is charged with serving as a clearinghouse for election administration information. To further this mission, the EAC launched the Clearies in 2016 to promote best practices in elections and celebrate the accomplishments of election officials. 

“This year we were pleased to receive a record-breaking number of 137 Clearie submissions, more than tripling the 2019 submissions,” said EAC Chairman Donald Palmer. “The number of Clearie submissions highlights that even though this was a challenging election year, officials continue to modernize and develop programming that will serve as helpful best practices for the coming years. The job of an election official is never done, and we hope to see even more submissions and exceptional examples in 2021. The Clearie winners, those who submitted entries, and all election officials should be incredibly proud of the work they did to ensure a successful 2020 election. These best practices are valuable resources as officials continue to administer elections during the pandemic and for years to come.”