The Free Beacon seems to be one of the few journalistic entities that has reported on the state of Michigan’s removal of 177,000 names from its voter rolls.
Before we go any farther, this post is not mean to rehash any aspect of the 2020 presidential election. But it does look forward to future elections and how we can ensure public confidence in our system.
The Free Beacon begins:
The Michigan secretary of state removed 177,000 inactive voters from the state’s voter rolls after settling a legal challenge.
The state removed the names from the voter rolls in late January because the voters no longer live in the state or did not respond to the state’s inquiries about their addresses, according to a Tuesday district court announcement. The state performed the post-election audit during a legal battle with the Honest Elections Project, an election watchdog.
Jason Snead, head of the Honest Elections Project, which supported the lawsuit, said the state’s decision to remove the voters will help combat any allegations of voter fraud. “The last thing that we want is to create a system in which you could have widespread voter fraud or where it’s impossible to debunk false allegations of widespread voter fraud because you are undermining or failing to act on the necessary measures that help to prevent fraud and bolster confidence in the democratic process,” he said.
The Bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform concluded in 2005 that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.” Mail-in voting is absentee voting writ large. The problem with mail-in voting goes back to the voter rolls.
If voter rolls contain people who are no longer eligible to vote—they have died or moved to another state, for example—this can affect the result of an election. If voter rolls are not kept up to date, when states send out mail-in ballots, there will be thousands of “extra” ballots, which can be seized and used by those who want to cheat. The chain of custody is also broken in mail-in voting.
The Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson initially rejected the notion that there were problems with the state’s voter rolls, whereupon the suit was filed. The suit was dismissed voluntarily after Benson agreed to re-examine voter rolls. In a muddled statement on the affair, Benson applauded transparency and praised her own efforts to “bolster election security.”
Jason Snead of the Honest Elections Project was more critical of Ms. Benson’s efforts:
“This is a sharp reversal. For seven months, Secretary Benson has insisted to the court and to the public that Michigan’s voter rolls were being properly maintained. Now she admits they were not. Per her own press release, Michigan lacks ‘sufficient comprehensive efforts’ to keep the voter rolls clean. For two years, Secretary Benson has had the responsibility to keep Michigan’s voter rolls clean. If there were longstanding problems, she should have taken steps to correct them long before today, three months after a national election. HEP will continue to ensure that Michigan’s officials are conducting the active and ongoing list maintenance that federal law requires and that voters deserve.”
As Michigan state senator and former secretary of state Ruth Johnson (R-MI) was quoted saying, an updated voter registration roll is “the best foundation for integrity in our elections.”
Democrats used the pandemic in 2020 to open the doors to universal mail-in ballots. Updated voter rolls are now more important than ever.
We’re glad that Michigan updated its rolls, ever how reluctantly, but all states need to follow suit.