A voter filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater and other officials, claiming that voter rolls in at least 16 counties have not been properly maintained.
According to a report by Fox News, Republican Tony Daunt said that the Michigan voter registration rates are “suspiciously high” as old voter records have not been cleared of ineligible voters.
“Retaining voter rolls bloated with ineligible voters harms the electoral process, heightens the risk of electoral fraud, and undermines public confidence in elections,” says Daunt’s complaint, which was filed in federal court in the Western District of Michigan, according to Fox News.
Ineligible voters include those who have died, moved or been convicted of a felony.
In one county, the number of registered voters was higher the number of people of voting age, according to the suit, which cited data compiled by the Honest Elections Project.
“Comparing the registered voter count to the 2014-18 American Community Survey reveals that Leelanau County has a registration rate of 102 percent,” the complaint says.
Fifteen other counties saw a registration of 90 percent. Daunt argues that inaccurate voting records open the door to voter fraud, which has become a controversial topic as states move to mail out ballot applications to encourage mail-in voting as part of their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At least one person has already received a ballot application for a deceased person.
Barr County Sheriff Dar Leaf posted to Facebook said last week that he had received a ballot application for someone who was deceased and not had lived at his residence for more than 20 years.
“The Secretary of the State has jumped over our Constitutionally elected County Clerks and sent out around 7.4 million ballot applications…This creates a problem with Sheriff’s Offices across the state because we are tasked with investigating voter fraud,” Leaf said on Facebook. “Our township, city and county clerks have the most up-to-date registered voter lists. Our state obviously does not.”
Leaf said that such mistakes open up the potential for fraud and said he would be giving it to the county clerk.
“I understand that it’s a ballot application,” he said. “I hope that I am the only one who gets one sent to their residence for someone who is deceased.”
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]