Weekly Round-Up: What it’s like to be a harassed, exhausted election official right now


Votebeat is a pop-up nonprofit newsroom covering local election administration and voting in eight states, created by Chalkbeat. This is a weekly round-up of stories our reporters have written across our network: Oct. 26 to 30. 



  • In California, ballots can be scanned before Election Day, but counties don’t compile vote totals. Some registrars even lock up the equipment, and the staff risk dismissal if they break the rules. Lewis Griswold looks at how California keeps early votes secret until Election Day. Read our story in CalMatters.
  • Even as California pushes to expand language access for the election, pandemic fears and record early voting numbers have complicated this effort. Michael Lozano at CalMatters reports on how the state is using technology to fill in some gaps.  






  • Absentee voters in Detroit should know: if your signature in Michigan’s voting file doesn’t match your ballot, it won’t be considered valid. Bisma Parvez reports on how signatures commonly change, but the decision to validate a ballot rests on two sets of eyes. 
  • For people with disabilities, physical polling places can be a barrier to voting. While federal law requires there to be some form of accessible polling place, actually casting a ballot in Detroit can be difficult. Read more in Bridge Detroit. 
  • President Donald Trump has spent the year complaining about unsubstantiated voter fraud, calling on people to be vigilant at the polls. Madeline Halpert reports that hundreds of poll challengers are being trained in Michigan, despite voter fraud being exceptionally rare. Read the story in Bridge Michigan.