The state of Michigan has one of the better records in keeping their voter registration lists current. So it’s heartening that the state election authorities rejected 846 ballots from people who were dead and another 1,100 ballots from people who had moved.
It should be noted that these ballots were not necessarily an attempt at fraud. According to the Detroit News, those voters may have died between the time they mailed their ballot for the August 4 primary and when they were counted.
Those individuals listed as dead or moved include voters who died or moved out of the jurisdiction after submitting their absentee ballots, Benson’s spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer said. The state gets monthly updates from the Social Security Administration regarding new Michigan deaths so officials can identify ballots filed by people who have since died.
The number of deceased voters is actually less than the November 2016 election, when 1,782 absentee ballots were rejected because the voter had died in an election that had 400,000 fewer absentee ballots than the Aug. 4 primary.
Obviously, Michigan makes an earnest effort to keep their voter rolls current. But that won’t matter if Democrats in the state get their way.
Benson released the statistics Friday as she urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass legislation ahead of November that would require clerks to call the voter if there are issues with an envelope signature and permit ballots to be counted if they were postmarked before Election Day.
“The data demonstrates that thousands of people who cast otherwise valid votes were not able to participate in last week’s election solely because the Legislature failed to act ahead of the primary,” the Detroit Democrat said in a statement.
“With turnout and absentee ballot numbers expected to double or even triple in November, we could be looking at tens of thousands of Michigan citizens disenfranchised if the legislature again fails to act,” she said.
Michigan may be an exception to the rule. Other states have bloated, out-of-date registration lists and aren’t as careful as Michigan in eliminating the dead from the rolls. And when there is an attempt to purge the rolls of ineligible voters in those states, officials are invariably sued by Democrats who complain of “disenfranchising” voters.
Accurate voter registration rolls will spell the difference in November between an election filled with question marks and one that can reasonably be seen as fair. That so many states fail that test should concern all of us from both parties.