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Secretary Benson continues to bolster election security
JANUARY 28, 2021
Ongoing voter registration list maintenance and
election audits affirm public trust
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced today that ongoing voter registration list maintenance and post-election audits continue to demonstrate the integrity, transparency and accuracy of Michigan elections.
“Michigan’s 2020 elections were the most secure, successful and accessible in state history. More than 5.5 million citizens voted and over 1,600 election clerks on both sides of the aisle worked tirelessly to ensure all valid ballots were counted efficiently and accurately,” said Benson. “Since November, my administration has continued to work with election officials across our state to review and strengthen all our election processes and protocols, in preparation for 2021’s local elections.”
In support of those efforts, today Benson made publicly available the list of approximately 177,000 voter registrations slated for cancellation because the state has reason to believe the voter has moved away from the registration address. These individuals either surrendered a Michigan Driver’s License to another state or had election mail returned undeliverable to an election official prior to the 2018 election. They were sent a notification prior to the 2018 election requiring a response, did not respond to the notice and did not engage in any voting activity in at least the last two federal election cycles (2020 and 2018).
To ensure that voters who still live at their registered address have an additional opportunity to prevent cancellation, the full list of voters to be cancelled is now available more than one month prior to cancellation, enabling voters and civic groups to review the list and notify local clerks of any list errors or registrations that should be updated rather than cancelled. The list can be requested by emailing ElectionData@michigan.gov. Requesting the list does not require a fee. The list does not include any information that is not publicly available through a public records request of the Qualified Voter File. It includes voter name, address and birth year. More information can be found at Michigan.gov/Vote.
“When carried out transparently, accurately and in accordance with federal law, list maintenance is an important element of ensuring Michigan’s election system remains secure,” said Benson. “The work that we are doing now will ensure the list of registered voters, which had gone over a decade without sufficient comprehensive efforts to ensure its accuracy, is updated and modernized with methods to promote integrity and prevent any eligible voter from disenfranchisement.”
Michigan voters whose registrations are cancelled can re-register at any time, including up to and on Election Day. If they conduct an identification or driver’s license transaction with the Department of State, they will be registered automatically unless they opt out of registration.
The Bureau is also carrying out the following two additional list maintenance activities:
- Providing to local election clerks the absentee ballot applications returned undeliverable to the Bureau of Elections last year following what was the first statewide election mailing in nearly a decade. Federal law prohibited voter list maintenance in the 90-day periods before the August and November 2020 elections, but as those periods have ended, the information gained from the returned mail can now be used to clean the voter rolls. Clerks will mail notifications to all those voters that they must verify their registration within two federal election cycles or it will be subject to cancellation.
- Mail additional notifications requiring verification to voters listed as registered in other states by the Electronic Registration Information Center, an interstate organization that compares voter lists and driver records nationally.
The work to maintain the voter registration list is occurring while the Bureau and local clerks continue to also carry out more than 200 post-elections audits, including an ongoing statewide risk-limiting audit expected to affirm the results determined by vote-counting machines in the presidential election. A similar pilot audit demonstrated the machines were accurate following the March 2020 presidential primary election. All the completed audits of the November 2020 election have confirmed its accuracy and integrity. A list of all audits that includes their current status is available on the Bureau of Elections website.
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