Detroit officials sound alarms: 72 percent of voting precincts didn’t match number of ballots collected

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Critics of mass mail-in balloting including President Donald Trump who worry about the potential for voter fraud due to outdated registration rolls were vindicated last week after canvassers discovered 72 percent of Detroit’s voting precincts did not match the number of ballots collected.

Officials in Michigan’s largest county have asked Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office to conduct an investigation in the findings by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers ahead of a critical November election in a battleground state that is vital to the president’s reelection after he barely won it nearly four years ago.

“Without an explanation from Detroit election workers for the mismatches,” the Detroit News reported, the board — which is tasked with certifying election results — asked “Benson’s office to examine the ‘training and processes’ used in Detroit’s Aug. 4 primary, which one official described as a “perfect storm” of challenges.”

The paper reported that, in 46 percent of the city’s districts in both absentee and Election Day ballots, vote tallies were out of balance, according to results posted by the board earlier this month.

In particular, “the number of ballots tracked in precinct poll books did not match the number of ballots counted,” the paper reported, adding:

The situation could amplify the spotlight on absentee ballots in Michigan ahead of an election for which record levels of mail-in voting are expected and President Donald Trump is already raising concerns about how votes will be handled.

According to Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat on the four-member canvassing board, the election results were not wrong. However, there was some sort of imbalance linked to tracking ballots from precinct to precinct, suggesting that there could have been some form of manipulation.

In Michigan, it’s vital to have balanced precincts because “precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted, according to state law,” the Detroit News noted, meaning that initial election results would be recognized.

“It was a perfect storm,” said Kinloch, the outlet reported.

A record number of absentee ballots were cast in Michigan during the primary, Kinloch said, noting further that experienced poll workers were also not on hand to help with the election over concerns about COVID0-19.

The canvassing board requested that Detroit native Benson investigate “the training and processes used by the City of Detroit” during the Aug. 4 primary. In addition, members requested Benson appoint a state monitor to supervise absentee ballot counts in the coming general election.

Already sensing that election day drama, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he would be contacting the secretary of state as well as Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, the official in charge of administering elections in the city, “to make sure this gets fixed immediately.”

“We cannot have a recurrence of these problems in November,” he said.

But balloting problems are not new to the city. In 2016, Detroit experienced precinct count variations; election officials could not reconcile ballot totals for 59 percent of districts following a citywide canvassing of ballot results, “with most of the issues involving too many votes,” the paper reported.

Eventually, Michigan was certified for President Trump by a slim 10,704-vote margin, his smallest in the nation and the first GOP presidential victory in the state in 28 years.

Though Democrats and others in the media have regularly claimed that there is little-to-no vote fraud in the country, the fact is, Detroit’s voter mismatches are not unique.

Judicial Watch and other organizations have been winning lawsuits against states and jurisdictions requiring them to update outdated voter registration rolls that still list people who have died, moved away, or are otherwise not eligible to vote.

Some officials in Detroit acknowledge that the system is so screwed up it may be impossible to fix in time for the general election.

“It was so inaccurate that we can’t even attempt to make it right,” said Republican canvassing board member and chairwoman Monica Palmer.

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Jon Dougherty

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