Ottawa County Elections Receives National Award

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General Press Release

March 5, 2021

Ottawa County Elections Announced as a Recipient of a U.S. Election Assistance Commission 2020 Clearinghouse Award

Annual “Clearie” Awards Recognized Ottawa County Elections for Cybersecurity

West Olive, MI – The Elections Division of the Ottawa County Clerk/Register’s Office has received national recognition for their “#OttawaVotes” voter information campaign during the 2020 election cycle.

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 certifying voting technology and 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.

The award categories include innovation in election administration; improving accessibility for voters with disabilities; and best practices in recruiting, training, and retaining poll workers; Ottawa County Elections won in a category that is new this year innovation in election cybersecurity and technology. Winners were selected by two independent panels of election officials from the EAC’s advisory boards.

The #OttawaVotes project is based on an intentional effort at stronger voter communication and transparency that began in 2019 in advance of the 2020 election cycle. “Consistent, factual communication with our voters is essential to maintaining the security of our elections,” said Justin Roebuck, Ottawa County Clerk/Register.  “I commend our elections team for their innovative approach to engaging with our community.  By providing regular, accurate information and using a variety of outreach efforts, I believe we can build a relationship with our voters that inspires both accountability and trust in the process.” As part of this project, the Ottawa County Elections office promoted verified election information on billboards, radio stations, and social media throughout Ottawa County, reaching over 500,000 impressions on Facebook alone.   

“This year we are 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.”

Now in its fifth year, the Clearie awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s depiction of positive results, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness, and replicability. More information about each awardee is available on the EAC’s website.

In a joint statement all four EAC Commissioners added: “We want to thank the 2020 Clearie judges for taking time away from their busy schedules to review the submissions and help us recognize the excellent contributions of their colleagues from around the country.”