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Statement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on planned audits to follow certification of the Nov. 3, 2020, general election

Throughout my tenure as Michigan Secretary of State, and indeed long before, I have spoken repeatedly on the importance of post-election audits to ensure Michiganders can trust the outcome of our elections as an accurate reflection of the will of the people.

I’m thrilled that we are on track to perform a statewide risk-limiting audit of November’s general election, which we’ve been building towards and planning for over the last 22 months, as well as local procedural audits of individual jurisdictions.

For example, earlier this year following the March 10 presidential primary my office conducted Michigan’s first statewide risk-limiting audit pilot, which demonstrated the results of our elections are accurate and provided an extra layer of security as we prepared for November’s election.

The statewide risk-limiting audit will be accompanied by the routine local procedural audits that will review the accuracy and process of elections in local communities, as have been carried out following the November 2019 election and May 2020 election. And as always, under state law our department conducts these audits after the Board of State Canvassers has certified the election. This is because it is only after statewide certification that election officials have legal access to the documentation needed to conduct such audits.

Importantly, while the Risk Limiting Audit is a proactive, voluntary, and planned action our office is taking to confirm the integrity of our elections and identify areas for future improvement, local procedural audits consider clerical errors identified before and on election day, in addition to issues identified during canvasses. This a typical, standard procedure following election certification, and one that will be carried out in Wayne County and any other local jurisdictions where the data shows notable clerical errors following state certification of the November election.

Notably, audits are neither designed to address nor performed in response to false or mythical allegations of “irregularities” that have no basis in fact. Where evidence exists of actual fraud or wrongdoing, it should be submitted in writing to the Bureau of Elections, which refers all credible allegations to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation.

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