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Office of the Auditor General confirms the success of Michigan's post-election audits

An audit of the Michigan Bureau of Elections released today by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General confirmed the effectiveness of the post-election audits carried out after the 2020 presidential election.

"By confirming the effectiveness of the most comprehensive post-election audit in state history, the Auditor General affirmed what has been demonstrated time and time again - Michigan's 2020 election was secure and the outcome accurately reflects the will of the voters," said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "The auditors recognized the tremendous work the Michigan Bureau of Elections and local election officials did to carry out more than 250 successful post-election audits by rating the bureau's performance perhaps better than ever."

The audit reviewed Bureau of Elections activities from May 1, 2019, to May 31, 2021, an exceptionally challenging time for all Michigan election officials, as they successfully implemented the new voting rights adopted by voters in 2018, and executed and quickly and accurately tabulated the highest turnout election in state history and in the midst of a pandemic. Additionally, when the current state audit was conducted, countless election officials in Michigan were enduring baseless attacks on their integrity, if not outright threats to their safety.

"The performance of Michigan's clerks in the 2020 election and the months that followed was outstanding, especially when we take into consideration the national, coordinated and shameful effort to overturn the legitimate outcome of the election and undermine the clerks themselves," said Benson. "The reality is that Michigan's county, city and township clerks successfully shouldered significant responsibilities, endured unprecedented scrutiny and ensured the security and professional execution of the 2020 election and post-election audits."

The Auditor General's report also made some recommendations for process improvement, many of which have already been implemented by the Bureau of Elections. For example, the bureau has now created a post-election audit training certification program and certified the county election official in 82 of 83 counties. The bureau has also implemented a new program to periodically reconcile driver and voter lists to ensure data quality, supplementing the daily matching that already occurs.

The audit also included recommendations for legislative action, many of which have been advocated for by Secretary Benson and election clerks for some time. Such recommendations include providing time to pre-process absentee ballots prior to Election Day and extending the post-election canvassing period. Secretary Benson included both provisions in her February 2021 legislative agenda and called on the state Legislature then to take action to support clerks and strengthen Michigan's election system.

Overall, the Auditor General found the bureau's performance was effective, sufficient, or sufficient with exceptions in all areas that were reviewed. This marks an improvement over the bureau's previous audit, which reviewed its operations starting in 2016 and found one area to be only moderately effective.

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