BELLAIRE — Borderline-threatening calls kept Sheryl Guy nearly as busy as the faulty vote totals she and her team worked day-and-night to resolve.
Guy, the Antrim County clerk, said the error — which she suspects was an equipment malfunction — spurred around-the-clock efforts to hand-compare off tabulation totals to precinct-by-precinct results. The effort allowed the release of partial results around 5 p.m. Thursday.
But irate callers, local and not, made that process longer.
“It’s concerning that I’m spending all this time arguing with people on the phone, and it’s preventing me from making the numbers available,” said Guy, who started her shift Tuesday morning and worked through 7 p.m. Wednesday before a break. “My first thought is, I need to get these figures out, I want them to be timely — I don’t (need) people calling me and telling me that I’m a fraud.”
In a statement paired with those partial results, Guy thanked the community for its patience.
The results offered a first look at how Antrim County’s 18,000-some votes laid out — at this point, they include unofficial counts for the presidential race, one Senate race, proposals, judicial races and other state- and national-level offices. Local election results are likely to come Friday.
The 37-page report included unofficial results from both state-level proposals, which saw landslide “yes” votes in Antrim.
Another notable result saw a 262-262 tie on a Central Lake proposal to pass an ordinance allowing for the establishment of one marijuana dispensary within the village. An Elk Rapids school bond proposal earned a wide majority of support, passing on a 3-1 margin.
It also saw President Donald Trump beat Challenger Joe Biden by about 2,500 votes, though the state’s already been called, and a similar situation comes in a Senate race between Gary Peters and John James when James took Antrim County.
Guy released the results in a township-by-township breakdown, allowing interested voters a deeper look at vote breakdowns.
The now partially resolved off-counts — which saw the traditionally red county go blue via bizarrely small numbers for some Republican candidates — were caught shortly after Guy released full unofficial results around 4 a.m. Wednesday.
She caught the error and after confirming it, took those results down — but not before some news outlets and local voters saw and spread the information.
For now, the longtime clerk faces another long night.
“I’ll just be glad when I can get the numbers up and the canvassers come back in tomorrow morning,” Guy said. “(Then we can) move on from there and get our 2020 election in the books.”
See more election coverage at www.record-eagle.com.