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Michigan’s Secretary of State Fights to Keep Dead on Voter Rolls

Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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by Outside Contributor
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Michigan
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

In an order that illustrates the bizarre views of controversial Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a federal court has turned down Benson’s motion to throw out a lawsuit filed against her for refusing to remove almost 26,000 dead voters from Michigan voters rolls. 

In mid-September 2020, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (of which I am a board member) sent Benson a list of all of the deceased registrants who remained on the state’s voter rolls less than two months before the presidential election.

Of those nearly 26,000 Michigan residents, 23,663 had been dead for at least five years, 17,479 had been dead for at least a decade and, astonishingly, 3,956 had been dead for at least two decades, yet they were still listed as registered voters in the state.

That shows just how inadequate Michigan’s procedures are for safeguarding the accuracy of its voter list. 

The Public Interest Legal Foundation had conducted a very detailed matching program to ensure the list it provided to Benson was accurate. As federal Judge Jane Beckering, an appointee of President Joe Biden, pointed out in her order, the legal foundation had compared the names of registered voters with the Social Security Administration’s Death Index and “matched full names, full dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and credit address history information.”

Yet Benson refused to take any action to verify this information and to remove those dead voters from the rolls. She was obligated to do so under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, which according to Beckering, requires election officials to remove “registrants from the voter registration roll because of the death of the registrant or a change in the residence of the registrant.”

The law also requires transparency. Election officials must make available for public inspection and copying all records “concerning the implementation” of its voter registration activities and, in particular, its procedures for maintaining the accuracy of the lists, such as removing deceased voters. 

Yet when the Public Interest Legal Foundation  requested that Benson allow “public inspection or provide copies” of its records regarding the removal of dead voters, she responded that no such inspection would be allowed and no copies would be provided because her “offices were closed to the public due to the pandemic.” 

According to the judge, the legal foundation sent multiple letters to Benson trying to get those records before it finally was forced to file suit because Benson not only refused to comply with the law, but also refused to take any action to use the detailed information provided by the foundation to clean up the state’s voter rolls. 

Her only response was that Michigan already had a general program in place that makes “reasonable efforts” to removed deceased voters from the rolls. She apparently doesn’t care that her “reasonable efforts” are obviously not working. 

Instead of simply settling the lawsuit and agreeing to finally remove the dead voters, Benson filed a motion to dismiss the case, while her spokeswoman called the lawsuit an attempt to “undermine American democracy.” 

Apparently, Michigan’s secretary of state thinks that trying to prevent someone from using a deceased voter’s registration to fraudulently vote “undermines” democracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. The voter registration list is an essential election integrity document because it tells election officials who is eligible to vote. Accurate voter rolls reduce the opportunity for fraud and give voters confidence in the honesty of their elections.

In her motion to dismiss, Benson made the meritless claim that the Public Interest Legal Foundation had not fulfilled the notice requirement of the National Voter Registration Act, which requires that election officials be given written notice of a potential violation of the law prior to a lawsuit being filed. 

Given the numerous letters that legal foundation had sent to Benson, which included a detailed list of the dead voters as well as a complete description of the methodology used to create the list, the court refused to dismiss the lawsuit. 

The judge held that the legal foundation had more than satisfied the notice requirement since it had not only “set forth the manner in which Secretary Benson has purportedly failed to comply with the NVRA’s list maintenance requirements,” but also “clearly communicated that it would commence litigation if the purported violation was not timely addressed.”

In fact, the National Voter Registration Act requires notice 90 days before you are allowed to file suit. The legal foundation had waited 411 days, giving Benson more than enough time to act. But instead of trying to fix the problem, Benson failed to do anything about it and continues to spend taxpayer dollars and resources on fighting the lawsuit and defending the state’s inadequate list-maintenance program.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the case. But it is an initial win for election integrity in Michigan since the case will go forward, and Benson will have to defend her refusal to comply with federal law.

It should be alarming to Michigan residents that their secretary of state is fighting to prevent the removal of deceased individuals who are still registered to vote. Maintaining accurate, clean voter rolls is an important part of her job, and election officials should not have to be sued to force them to fulfill such a basic job requirement.

Hopefully, this lawsuit will be successful in finally getting Benson to remove the nearly 26,000 deceased registrants who shouldn’t be on Michigan’s voter rolls.

In 2021, a similar lawsuit was filed by the Public Interest Legal Foundation in Pennsylvania and ultimately the commonwealth agreed to settle the case and remove the deceased registrants from its voter rolls.  But as in Michigan, organizations like the legal foundation should not have to file a lawsuit to get a state to do what it should have been doing all along.

Michigan is a battleground state that often has very close elections. In 2016, Donald Trump won the state by a little more than 11,000 votes. Local elections in Michigan are often decided by a handful of votes.

We should all be able to agree that we do not want deceased individuals on the voter rolls, providing the opportunity for someone to cast illegal ballots in their name.

That should not be a partisan issue. One illegal vote is too many.

The good news is that because of this court ruling, Michigan might be one step closer to fixing this problem, whether Benson wants to or not.

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Sue
Sue
1 year ago

Why is it taking soo long to clean up and remove the deceased voters? Beyond belief! Benson is crooked like the rest of the democrats. We must remove her from office.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

I won’t be holding my breath waiting for justice or common sense to prevail in this case.

Lloyd
Lloyd
1 year ago

Thank you for your hard work and honesty in dealing with bureaucrats that don’t want to fix the problem they are elected to fix. 

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

I didn’t know you could do that. Since they’re not removing her from position, guess it must be perfectly acceptable, right?

Gail
Gail
1 year ago

If the Federal Government Social Security Dept. can take off a deceased person from their list, retroactive to the previous month, if that’s when they died, why would voter registration be so ridiculously negligent with their list??!! It screams of Fraud, fraud, fraud!!!!!! I don’t trust the voting system, but I will continue to vote anyway, because that’s just what THEY want!

DrScottD
DrScottD
1 year ago

We have a good person running for Bensons position, Kristine Karamo. Matt DePerno is running for Attorney General here. Tudor Dixon is the candidate for Governor. Yes, I believe that the 3 in office have done grave damage to our State since they somehow got into office. I know Soros money had a lot to do with it, but I had no idea how much. We also need some judges and School Board members Trustees, or such that need replaced.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

She wants to keep the deceased on voter rolls so they can give ILLEGAL ALIEN TERRORIST their I.D.’s to vote ILLEGALLY at elections.
Just another form of cheating and stealing elections since they can’t win Honestly.
Just like 2020 Presidential Election.

Russ
Russ
1 year ago

Benson and the democrats are going to steal another election and keeping the dead on the voter rolls is just a small part of what they are planning.

FedUp
FedUp
1 year ago

hmmmmm
Wonder how many of them voted in the last election?

Sarah S.
Sarah S.
1 year ago

Did I read that right? Joe actually did something good by appointing a decent judge?? Perhaps he didn’t know she would be honest.

Dan Basham
Dan Basham
1 year ago

Would really love to hear her justification…..beyond what she previously said…..a threat to democracy??…. no, a threat to Democrats….

Sandra R
Sandra R
1 year ago

I can’t believe she or any if the others still have a Job they can not be trusted, it is apparent they are doing this intentionally so they can vote for the candidates they want using those who have passed away. Why are they not held accountable.

James Thompson
James Thompson
1 year ago

The only way they can win

Roberta K Cox
Roberta K Cox
1 year ago

Good case for voter ID

Myrna Wade
Myrna Wade
1 year ago

We seem to be entering a time when saying the opposite of the truth works out until the person is removed. What has to be done is clean up through elections.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

I wander if taxes are collected from these dead souls

Jerry Todd
Jerry Todd
1 year ago

George Soros has spent millions promoting the elections of SECSTATES, AGs and DAs. One could assume Benson got some illicit help to get elected. Even the recall of the criminal DA of Los Angeles County failed for some reason. He is responsible for a huge spike in thefts, murdes,and violence.

Lee M
Lee M
1 year ago

I think I’ll check to see if my parents are still registered, they passed away several years ago. As they were both lifelong republicans, I am sure they have been sponged away, but if not, I will be sure to vote them for the R candidates!

Ron Day
Ron Day
1 year ago

If the verdict comes up that the deceased names don’t have to be removed, isn’t there a way that the ballots can be checked to see if any of those “dead people” were on any of them?

Felix
Felix
1 year ago

If they keep dead people on the voter rolls, it makes it easier to show and record votes that are more than the number of registered voters, like what happened in some cities and counties.

John Riley
John Riley
1 year ago

How many of the dead voters voted?

P2burner
P2burner
1 year ago

What possible reason could there be to keep dead people on the voter roles? This is just bizarre.

J. Farley
J. Farley
1 year ago

What an Idiot, Moron, this woman needs to be removed from office by Recall or Election which ever can happen first!!
Where is Bevis, we now Know where Butt Head is!

pam clymer
pam clymer
1 year ago

WHY???? Just so they can cheat again??

Bert
Bert
1 year ago

Why ????

Don
Don
1 year ago

Benson has refused to fulfill her oath of office. She should be arrested and removed. But, the MI AG and Gov. are like minded individuals who think that they are, or should be, the final word in what is right and wrong. Nov. 8 must be a day of reckoning for these tyrannical individuals. If not before.

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

Where did her lawyer(s) get their degrees ? ?They should not be hired with taxpayer money (or private money)

Garye
Garye
1 year ago

Yes, benson, govenor half-whit,and nessel all are full fledged, order following ,big supporters of the marxist democrat party and joebama.
BAD for Michigan, immoral, anti American swamp politicians!
They MUST GO. THROW THEM OUT!
They are self serving, anti freedom, do not follow Our Constitution and are purely party politics first. They care noting about the wishes of Citizens and can’t even “fix the damn roads”,( whitmers famous campaign lie)
Throw them out!

Donald Christian
Donald Christian
1 year ago

There is only one reason to NOT remove the dead from the rolls; USE THEM !!

whatstrump
whatstrump
1 year ago

“Dereliction of duty.”
“Malfeasance in office.”
We’re at a state where everything means nothing–and nothing means everything.
Words don’t matter to liars.

Robin Boyd
Robin Boyd
1 year ago

This is how Progressive Democrats & D.C. Swamp dwelling Republicans allow fraud to keep being committed in our elections. At this point, I don’t trust any Progressive Democrat or anti-Trump Republican, all of who claim no election fraud.

Mike
Mike
1 year ago

She needs to be put in prison!

William
William
1 year ago

Why is this individual allowed to hold this office

Bill
Bill
1 year ago

This is both appalling and disgusting. How is person not fired, indicted and jailed for her refusal to do her job. She is clearly part of the problem! How can this be stopped??

Jan13
Jan13
1 year ago

The other day at a military gathering, a few of us were laughing about if any WW1 era people still around, we were pretty sure no one is, but we do know many are still voting

Doe2259
Doe2259
1 year ago

This is unacceptable!

James
James
1 year ago

The only reason they would fight to keep deceased voters on role, is so that voter registration officials can sit in a closed office and fill out illegal votes to further the far left agenda.

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