Benson Loses Round in Fight Over Dead People on Michigan Voter Rolls
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s latest legal maneuver to avoid removing 25,975 deceased people from the state’s voter rolls has been stymied by a federal court.
Benson moved for dismissal of a case brought against her in November 2021 by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) for her failure to clean up the state’s voter registration rolls—in an alleged violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
On Aug. 25, Benson’s motion to dismiss the case was denied by the Western District Court of Michigan.
The court also denied the motions to intervene filed by the Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and Rise, Inc.
Additionally, PILF’s suit seeks to force Benson to provide documentation of her efforts to remove deceased registrants from the voter rolls, something she has thus far also failed to do.
Names of 25,975 Deceased Voters
PILF notified Benson of the problem in September 2020 and again in November 2020, a year before it filed its lawsuit.
The foundation provided Benson with the names of 25,975 voters its research discovered had passed away but were still on Michigan’s voter rolls.
Of these, 23,663 registrants have been dead for five years or more, and 17,449 have been dead for at least a decade.
The study found that 3,956 registrants had been dead for at least 20 years.
That time span encompasses the terms of both Democrat and Republican secretaries of state, an indication that neither party has been serious about a voter roll cleanup.
PILF president J. Christian Adams said in a statement about the 2021 case: “For over a year we shared specific data with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office about the alarming problem of deceased registrants on Michigan’s voter rolls.
“Secretary Benson has done nothing to resolve the problem and is even refusing to hand over public documents related to these failures.
“The failure to remove deceased registrants creates an opportunity for fraud and makes Michigan’s elections less secure.
“This case is about ensuring that deceased registrants are not receiving ballots.”
Commenting on its current legal victory, Adams said in an Aug. 25, statement: “This initial win is a first step.”
He added: “It’s astonishing that Benson is so vigorously opposing effective list maintenance.”
Adams called it “remarkable” that, after PILF shared its data with Benson in 2020, dead people remain on Michigan’s voter rolls.
The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office does not comment on ongoing or pending litigation
PILF won a complete victory in 2021 when Pennsylvania agreed to remove 20,000 deceased voters from its rolls.
According to its press release, PILF will continue to assist states in the cause of election integrity and to fight against lawlessness in the conducting of American elections wherever it is found.