Election Integrity Under Scrutiny: Late Voter Registrations Raise Questions in Michigan

In the aftermath of the primary elections, Michigan clerks found themselves grappling with a series of puzzling voter registration anomalies.

On September 24, 2020, a city clerk in Michigan shared an intriguing incident on a Facebook page. A voter had presented a new registration form at her office, reportedly sent by the Secretary of State (SOS).

However, the form lacked a crucial detail – the voter’s date of birth (DOB), rendering it impossible to add him to the system.

The perplexed clerk sought advice from her peers on how to handle this unusual situation. The response from another city clerk, whose identity remains undisclosed, was equally baffling.

She referred to SOS Jocelyn Benson as the “Secretary of Silliness,” implying the form should not have been sent to them. Instead, she suggested Benson’s office would rectify the application, rather than requiring the applicant to make the necessary corrections.

This incident was not isolated. Numerous clerks reported receiving late voter registrations from Benson’s Bureau of Elections.

One clerk revealed that she received four emails from the Bureau, each containing a single registration dated back to early July. Another clerk reported receiving 15 registrations on a single day, but several could not be processed due to missing contact information.

On August 1, 2020, just three days before the primary election, another city clerk raised concerns about last-minute voter registrations from Benson’s Bureau of Elections.

She questioned the purpose of sending a registration with only an address and no other details. Other clerks echoed her sentiments, expressing frustration over the lack of information and the pressure to respond within 24 hours.

Adding to the confusion, one clerk received a box of voter registration forms from the SOS office on the eve of the election. Some of these registrations were dated back to June, raising questions about why they were held for so long.

The clerks expressed their dissatisfaction with the state’s handling of the process, stating that it made their jobs more difficult.

Lori Bourbonais, director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, responded to these concerns. She explained that such forms should be returned to and processed by the State of Michigan.

If a form is received in person and lacks necessary information, the individual should complete a standard voter registration form. If the form is received by mail or brought in by someone else and lacks the necessary information, it can be forwarded to a specific email address.

Despite these explanations, the clerks remained frustrated. They felt they were not given advance warning or updates, leaving them unprepared when confronted with these issues.

This situation underscores the need for transparency and effective communication in election processes to ensure integrity and public trust. As investigations continue, it remains to be seen what actions will be taken to address these concerns and improve future elections.