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Bureau of Elections announces most comprehensive post-election audits in state history

Statewide audit will be paired with audits in more than 200 jurisdictions

The Michigan Bureau of Elections released preliminary plans for the most comprehensive post-election audits of any election in state history, including a statewide risk-limiting audit, a complete zero-margin risk-limiting audit in Antrim County, and procedural audits in more than 200 jurisdictions statewide, including absentee ballot counting boards.

“I am a longstanding proponent of post-election audits to review election procedure and affirm public confidence in our elections,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “By conducting the most comprehensive set of audits in our state’s history, the Bureau of Elections and Michigan’s more than 1,600 local election clerks are demonstrating the integrity of our election.”

To confirm the accuracy of ballot tabulation machines, the Bureau and clerks will conduct a long-planned statewide risk-limiting audit of the presidential election. This entails hand-counting thousands of randomly selected ballots statewide. Initial steps are already underway and the audit should be finished by mid-January. A pilot statewide risk-limiting audit demonstrated the accuracy of the machines after the March 10, 2020 presidential primary.

Additionally, a zero-margin risk-limiting audit of the presidential election will be conducted by the Bureau and county officials in Antrim County in December. This is essentially a hand tally of every ballot, which can be compared with the machine-tabulated results.

The Bureau also published a preliminary list of precincts and absentee ballot counting boards in more than 200 jurisdictions that will undergo procedural audits conducted by either counties or the state. Many of these audits are ongoing or commencing upon the completion of recounts. Election officials will review election processes, machines and ballots.

“Clerks across the state carried out an extremely successful election amidst the challenges created by record-breaking turnout and more than double the absentee ballots ever before cast in our state, a global pandemic, and the failure of the Michigan Legislature to provide more than 10 hours for pre-processing of absentee ballots,” said Benson. “As Attorney General William Barr, the FBI and CISA all have confirmed, this was most secure election in our nation’s history and we are confident these audits will continue to affirm that truth.”

Numerous other states provide multiple days, if not weeks, for absentee ballot pre-processing.


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