As swing state Michigan approaches an election in which it could play a pivotal role, new data from its Aug. 4 primary reveals that in 72 percent of Detroit’s election precincts, recorded ballot counts for absentee voters did not match the number of ballots actually cast.
“The people of Michigan deserve to know that their elections are being conducted fairly and competently, but today’s news shows that Wayne County and the City of Detroit can’t conduct an election to even the most basic of standards,” Laura Cox, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, said Thursday, according to the Detroit News.
Monica Palmer, a Republican member of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, said the mess involving the ballots was too tangled to ever unsnarl.
“It was so inaccurate that we can’t even attempt to make it right,” said Palmer, chairwoman of the board, according to the Detroit News.
“Based on the inaccuracies that we saw during the canvass, something has to happen. We can’t go into November with what occurred during the primary,” she said, according to WDIV-TV.
According to the Detroit News, 363 of Detroit’s 503 absentee voting precincts showed problems: 131 were off by plus or minus one ballot without an explanation; 85 were off by two ballots without an explanation; 48 were off by three; 26 off by four; and 73 off by five.
Including votest cast on primary day with absentee ballot counts, 46 percent of the total vote counts in Detroit precincts were off, according to the Detroit News.
“Specifically, the number of ballots tracked in precinct poll books did not match the number of ballots counted,” the newspaper reported.
Michigan rules mean districts where ballot counts are off cannot be part of a recount, according to the Detroit News.
That worried Palmer.
“With so many precincts being out of balance in the absentee counting board, anything that is out of balance unexplained is not recountable,” Palmer told WDIV. “That’s disenfranchising everyone who has voted in those precincts.”
The Wayne County Board of Canvassers asked state Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson office to examine the “training and processes” used in the primary.
Jonathan Kinloch, a Democratic member of the Board of Canvassers called the primary “a perfect storm.”
The elements in the storm, though, are likely to be present in November as well, because Kinloch cited a record number of absentee votes being cast and elections workers having concerns about COVID-19.
President Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, his smallest margin of victory in any single state.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he would work with Benson and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, who administers elections in the city, “to make sure this gets fixed immediately.”
“We cannot have a recurrence of these problems in November,” Duggan said.
Winfrey, however, said not to expect “expect perfection or anything close” to it after elections staffers have worked long hours.
In an affidavit posted online by Breitbart News, Bob Cushman, a GOP representative who monitored the count, said problems were evident.
He said several tables where votes were being counted “had opened ballots with no poll book” to check whether a ballot was cast by an authorized person.
In another instance, he “noticed pages being inserted into several poll books.”
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