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Election Integrity News Blog


Clinton County Volunteers on Fire, Canvassing Voter Rolls on Hermes’ Winged Sandals

By Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub | January 15, 2024


Rubbing two sticks together, the mythological Greek god Hermes is credited with inventing fire. Hermes may have invented a blaze, but the Clinton County Soles to the Rolls volunteers are showcasing it. Just as Hermes purportedly wore winged sandals which gave him quick travel, so, too, are the Soles to the Rolls volunteers moving swiftly and rapidly.


But the message that Hermes delivered from mythological god to mythological god dwindles in comparison to the message that the Clinton County canvassers deliver from county residents to township/village/city clerks. These volunteers deliver the message that some people who are listed in the Qualified Voter File (QVF – add links to articles) should “be flagged.” In other words, the clerks might want to check and make sure these individuals still reside in the respective jurisdiction.


From October 2023 until the present, five teams of canvassers walked 11 of the 20 townships to help clean up the voter rolls, and they have turned the information into the respective clerks.


What inspired these present-day mortals? What was the fuel that sparked the fire under their feet?


Two data-driven individuals, one a nurse and one a cancer researcher from Vanderbilt University, are basing their “opinions solely on facts.” They watched the turmoil unfold after the 2020 elections and saw people growing suspicious. Typically independent in their political bent, Maureen and Ted Hillary witnessed the division splitting communities.


Inwardly and to each other they said, “Who is trying to calm the waters and get to the truth?” They researched, found the Michigan Fair Elections website, and signed up to volunteer in the fall of 2023.


Within a month they had met with MFE volunteers and precinct delegates in the northern tier of the county and shown the delegates the goals of Michigan Fair Elections. They shared data from Check My Vote.

Two groups of citizens emerged: One was concerned that more voters had voted in the 2020 election than the number of registrants on the voter rolls. The other group was concerned at the unrealistic 100% of registrants aged 90-plus recorded as having voted. By the end of the meeting the people “started owning their own particular townships.” They saw that they could do something to make a difference, and the wings started growing out of their shoes.

They knew that their neighbors and friends would be concerned about this also. The spark ignited.


Equipped not only with the wings on their shoes but also walk lists created from Check My Vote, the volunteers realized that having clean voter rolls is not a partisan issue. Having clean voter rolls protects each person’s vote.

The canvassers looked first at the printed-off lists and concentrated on single-family dwellings with six or more registrants. These were “small, community houses” with three bedrooms and one bath. It didn’t necessarily make sense to have six registrants at these houses.

 The delegates then looked at the Qualified Voter File (QVF) for the northern tier of the county, and the percentage of the 90-plus-year-olds who were recorded as having voted looked suspicious. When the MFE volunteer presented to them how each could look online at CheckMyVote to see their own addresses and how many registered voters there were and that they could do the same with their neighbors’ address, their interest was piqued. 


The determined messengers paired into teams of two. They canvassed homes in Watertown, Bath, Dewitt and eight other townships. As of this writing, canvassers are lined up and waiting to go to yet another township and a city.


These canvassers found that 60% to 75% of residents answered their doors, and most were grateful for the volunteers’ efforts.


“We haven’t had any people who were upset or resistant to our questions and canvassing effort. The majority of the people were actually thanking us,” the MFE volunteer said. They realized their vote would count if ineligible registrants—people listed as residing at the house but who didn’t live there any longer—were no longer on the voter rolls.


This grateful attitude was helpful for the canvassers and reinforced to them that what they were doing was making a difference.


The Hermes-like volunteers, after getting the information from actual residents of the homes, quickly shunted it to local clerks.


Clerks expressed surprise.


One township clerk was shocked to learn that 60 to 70 people on the QVF of the township needed to be investigated and perhaps removed from the list. When the volunteers told the clerk that at one house the current resident said, “That person [still listed on the QVF as registered to vote] moved away 25 years ago.”


The clerk was thankful for the information. Many clerks do not have the manpower to keep up with Michigan’s ever-changing election laws and procedures, let alone the voter rolls. Their task is daunting. A visit from volunteers, who seemingly sported winged sandals, aided their cause.


When the volunteers encountered houses where they were told the person no longer lived there or where they were told, for example, that there were only two instead of eight registered voters, the canvassers “flagged their votes” and delivered the information to the clerks. 


The appreciative clerks often said they would send the appropriate information to those who were flagged to ensure that the QVF is clean. Those entitled to vote would remain in the QVF. Those no longer entitled to vote in that jurisdiction would be removed. It is a system of checks and balances.


The volunteer also attends county meetings where she hands out CheckMyVote cards. What has happened to her, she reports, is that often during the meeting someone checks their own residence and while the volunteer is still presenting says something to the effect of, “I just checked my address. This person does not live at my house.” The spark is ignited, and more people volunteer!


“Michigan Fair Elections has goals consistent with our beliefs. They want free, fair, and transparent elections.” The volunteer said she is happy to dedicate her time and energy to the worthwhile effort.


Hermes might be credited with inventing fire, but the canvassers of Clinton County can be credited with helping grow the fire of election integrity. This energy arose from mere mortals who were concerned, who wanted to put their energy into an organization that “calms the waters” of suspicion after the 2020 election.


Who would have guessed that calming the waters of suspicion involved starting a grass(roots) fire?


Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves as MFE’s director of communications. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney.


Join us for MFE's Coalition Task Force meeting Thursday,

January 18.

We are grateful for your support and look forward to seeing you at our Coalition Task Force meeting Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 12:00 PM. 

A Registration link will be posted in upcoming newsletters.


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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Michigan Fair Elections. Artificial intelligence may have been used in the creation of this message or in the links referenced herein.


WANTED: Poll Challengers and Election Inspectors

Pure Integrity Michigan Elections (PIME) is renewing its participation in the statewide Election Protection team to make sure cities and towns across the Mitten State have an equal balance.

If you are interested in becoming an election inspector or poll challenger, fill out the form at: Once you sign up, you will be emailed with a list of poll challenger trainings.

All poll challengers must attend at least one training to be placed at a location in 2024.  To register, click on one of the Training Schedule links below. If you cannot attend one of these training sessions, more will be scheduled for February.

Virtual (Zoom) Training Schedule

•   Wednesday, January 17th at 6:30pm (RSVP HERE)

•   Thursday, January 25th at 6:30pm (RSVP HERE)


Mark your calendars to attend Election Integrity Network's outstanding national working groups. Consider also serving as liaison to report to MFE's Task Force Coalition on our Thursday meetings.  

  • Citizen Research Project | Ned Jones, EIN

  • Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

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  • Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 4 p.m. (ET)

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  • Voter Roll Maintenance | Willard Helander, EIN

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  • Vulnerable Voters | Kerri Toloczko, EIN

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  • Election Audits | Mike Raisch

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