On Nov. 4 the count of absentee votes in Detroit was proceeding at TCF Center1 when Trump supporters gathered outside chanting "stop the count."  Meanwhile workers inside blocked some windows.  Those scenes provided a dramatic visual starting point to the Trump campaign's post-election maneuvering in Michigan.  Other noteworthy incidents in the succeeding weeks included charges that Dominion machines in Antrim County did not count votes for Trump accurately (traced to human error), the Wayne County Board of Canvassers' initial deadlock over certifying the vote, a trip by Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to Washington to meet with President Trump, show-trial style legislative hearings, and "stop the steal" rallies by Trump supporters.  All the time there was the inescapable fact that Biden's margin in Michigan was insurmountable, approaching 150,000 votes.

By the time of the meeting of the electors on Dec. 14,
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) observed that "numerous claims of fraud have been independently investigated, and in each instance, the claim is either found to be incorrect or incapable of being proven."  He stated, "While the volume of information demonstrates a need to address certain vulnerabilities, we have not received evidence of fraud on a scale that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”2 

The Michigan Department of State produced a very useful set of fact checks and summarized thusly:
"Following the 2020 general election many false claims were made to reduce public confidence in Michigan’s and the national election. None of the claims were found to have merit, and none of the lawsuits based on the claims, brought before dozens of state and federal judges and justices, were successful."
Finally, the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, chaired by Sen. Ed McBroom (R), conducted an extensive investigation.  Their report, released June 23, 2021, concluded:
"Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by  the people of Michigan."
1. Leading up to Nov. 3, the City of Detroit Department of Elections established the central counting board in the TCF Center downtown where workers would count all absentee ballots cast in the city.  It was a big job.  Detroit has just over half a million registered voters, and, although little over half turned out, due to the pandemic the majority of them, 67% or over 170,000 people, voted absentee.  In terms of context it must be noted that 78% of the population of Detroit is African American and more than 90 percent of the vote typically goes for the Democratic presidential ticket.

2. During the certification of the electoral votes in Congress on Jan. 6, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), attempted to raise an objection to Michigan's electoral votes "on the grounds that the error rate exceeds the FEC rate allowed at 0.0008 percent, and that the peple who signed affidavits at risk of perjury, their voices have not been heard in a court of law."  No U.S. Senator joined her, and the objection failed.


video from TCF Center

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
November 4, 2020

Trump campaign statement on Michigan lawsuit

“As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be. President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law. We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else.”

- Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager

Michigan Republican Party
November 5, 2020

Detroit Under Fire For Shutting Out Republicans

Despite Michigan election law requirements, Detroit shut out Republican election workers, calling into question the legitimacy of Detroit’s election operation

LANSING, Mich., November 5, 2020 – As Detroit continues to struggle with their election operations, concerns are being raised about the integrity of their system as it relates to Michigan election law.

According to Michigan election law, it is required that all major political parties have fair representation in election workers. Despite many Republicans applying for these positions in Detroit, Democrats were chosen to fill hundreds of the election worker spots, while Republicans were only able to have representation from a handful of individuals. According to Wayne County Canvassing Board Chair Monica Palmer, “Republican applicants were either rejected or flat out never received a call from the City of Detroit.” Palmer continued, “While there was ample opportunity for Detroit to faithfully follow through on what Michigan election law requires of them, the evidence at TCF raises questions about the hiring process for Detroit Election Inspectors, specific to the absentee counting board."

“It is an outrage what is happening in the City of Detroit right now, and Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are to blame for this mess.” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox. Cox continued, “Republicans have been shut out of the process in Detroit because of Benson and Winfrey’s partisanship, in a flagrant violation of Michigan’s election laws. I call for a full investigation of the election operation in Detroit, which has been compromised to its core.”

This is not the first time Detroit’s election operation has been called into question. During the August 2020 primary election, 72% of Detroit absentee voting precincts did not balance, meaning the machine counted a different number of votes than were indicated by city records.

Nov. 5, 2020 Zoom hearing on Trump v. Benson - C-SPAN

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
November 5, 2020
Contact: Ryan Jarvi

Michigan Court Rules Trump's Election Lawsuit Unlikely to Succeed on Merits

LANSING – The Michigan Court of Claims ruled today that a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was unlikely to succeed on the merits and denied a request by plaintiffs for immediate relief to stop the counting of ballots.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Press Secretary Ryan Jarvi released the following statement:

“We are pleased with Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens' swift action in today’s hearing on Trump v Benson to deny the relief requested by plaintiffs. She identified the same defects in the campaign's filings as we did, namely a complete lack of any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of election officials, and meritless legal arguments. Michigan’s elections have been fair, transparent and reflect the will of the voters, and we will continue to defend against any challenges that claim otherwise.”

Democracy Docket
November 5, 2020

UPDATE: Trump Campaign Loses Lawsuit in Michigan

WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Wednesday, the Trump Campaign and Republican poll challenger Eric Ostergen sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in the Michigan Court of Claims. The lawsuit claims that Ostergen was excluded from watching the absentee ballot counting board and that the state had violated the Michigan Constitution and Michigan election law by processing ballots without allowing poll watchers to view video footage of voters placing ballots in drop boxes. The Trump Campaign asked the court to: 1) stop the counting of absentee ballots until an election inspector from each party is present at each absentee counting board and until video is made available to challengers of each ballot box; and 2) immediately set aside all ballots that are not being “inspected and monitored” as described.

The Democratic National Committee intervened in the lawsuit—and today they won. In a hearing this morning, Judge Cynthia Stephens denied the Trump Campaign’s request for immediate relief to stop the counting of ballots.

This lawsuit joins other legal challenges brought by the Trump Campaign demanding states to halt the count of ballots.

Learn about the Michigan litigation here.

For more information about Democracy Docket’s post-election litigation, visit this page.

Nov. 6, 2020 Press Conference by Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel - KVUE

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
November 6, 2020

False claims from Ronna McDaniel have no merit

In response to the false claims made by Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the Michigan Department of State issues the following statements of fact:

  • Michigan’s elections were conducted fairly, effectively and transparently and are an accurate reflection of the will of Michigan voters.
  • The erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim county was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County Clerk. The equipment and software did not malfunction and all ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.
  • Like many counties in Michigan, Antrim County uses the Dominion Voting Systems election management system and voting machines (ballot tabulators.) The county receives programming support from Election Source. Tabulators are programmed to scan hand marked, paper ballots. When machines are finished scanning the ballots, the paper ballots are retained and a totals tape showing the number of votes for each candidate in each race is printed from the machine.
  • In order to report unofficial results, county clerks use election management system software to combine the electronic totals from tabulators and submit a report of unofficial results. Because the clerk did not update software, even though the tabulators counted all the ballots correctly, those accurate results were not combined properly when the clerk reported unofficial results.
  • The correct results always were and continue to be reflected on the tabulator totals tape and on the ballots themselves. Even if the error in the reported unofficial results had not been quickly noticed, it would have been identified during the county canvass. Boards of County Canvassers, which are composed of 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans, review the printed totals tape from each tabulator during the canvass to verify the reported vote totals are correct.
  • The software did not cause a misallocation of votes; it was a result of user human error. Even when human error occurs, it is caught during county canvasses.
  • It is also completely false that the county had to or will have to hand count all their ballots. The ballots were properly counted by the tabulators. The county had to review the printed tabulator results from each precinct, not each individual ballot.
  • As with other unofficial results reporting errors, this was an honest mistake and did not affect any actual vote totals. Election clerks work extremely hard and do their work with integrity. They are human beings, and sometimes make mistakes. However, there are many checks and balances that ensure mistakes can be caught and corrected.
  • As Detroit officials have stated, hundreds of challengers from both parties were inside their absent voter counting board all afternoon and evening. And even after some left, there were always challengers from both parties in the room. Dozens of reporters were in the room as well. Further, some windows were covered to stop those outside from filming the people and private information in the counting board, while other windows were left uncovered to ensure additional transparency.
  • As was stated by Chris Thomas, who as a contractor for the Detroit City Clerk’s Office served as an advisor on the execution of this election and led challenger relations, and who is the former Michigan Director of Elections, who served under both republican and democrat Secretaries of State during his 40-year-tenure with the Bureau of Elections, no ballots were backdated. Rather, a clerical error was made when some ballot envelopes were received in Detroit satellite offices. Although employees stamped a date of receipt on the envelopes, an employee failed to complete the transaction for receiving the ballot by saving that date in the Qualified Voter File. Therefore, at the absent voter counting board, after discussion with Republican challengers who chose not to challenge the process, staff was instructed to enter that date stamped on the envelope ensuring that no voters were disenfranchised by the clerical error.

# # #

For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
November 10, 2020

RESCHEDULED: Trump Campaign to Host Michigan Press Call with Kayleigh McEnany, Trump 2020 General Counsel Matt Morgan, and Counsel to the Campaign Thor Hearne

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. will host a press call with Kayleigh McEnany, Trump 2020 General Counsel Matt Morgan, and Counsel to the Campaign Thor Hearne on the campaign's legal efforts in Michigan. The number of lines are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ground rules will be set at the top of the call.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 10 at 6:00 pm EST

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
November 11, 2020

Trump Campaign Files Suit In Michigan, Citing Irregularities, Incompetence, and Unlawful Vote Counting

President Trump’s re-election campaign filed a federal lawsuit in Michigan citing multiple witness accounts of irregularities, incompetence, and unlawful vote counting. The suit relies on affidavits from witnesses who say they saw election officials counting ineligible ballots, counting batches of the same ballots multiple times, counting illegal late ballots and pre-dating them, accepting ballots deposited in drop boxes after the deadline, and duplicating ballots illegally. It also documents how defendant Wayne County used faulty ballot tabulators that miscounted votes for President Trump as votes for the Biden-Harris ticket.

The complaint also documents illegal and official intimidation and interference with lawful election challengers, harassment of Republican challengers tolerated or perpetrated by election officials, and arbitrary and unequal treatment of Republican challengers. Multiple witnesses gave alarming reports of fraud, intimidation, and interference, such as seeing about 50 ballots being fed multiple times into a ballot scanner, provisional ballots being placed in a tabulation box, ballots received after Election Day being pre-dated and counted, and officials in Wayne County covering windows of the counting center to prevent observers from lawfully monitoring the ballot counting process.

“The 70 million Americans who voted for President Trump deserve transparency into the potentially unconstitutional conduct documented here. The numerous reports we have heard from credible witnesses of Michigan's election processes are alarming. Every American should have faith in our electoral process and know that their legal vote was both counted and protected. Unfortunately, based on several witnesses’ accounts, that seemingly is not what occurred in the state of Michigan,” said Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 campaign general counsel. “As we have said from the beginning, our campaign will continue to ensure all Americans can trust in a free and fair election, and this lawsuit is a noteworthy step toward achieving that goal.”

The federal suit was filed in the Western District of Michigan against Wayne County and the Michigan Secretary of State on behalf of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and individual Michigan citizens and voters seeking declaratory and emergency injunctive relief. With this lawsuit, we seek to stop certification of Michigan election results until defendants have verified and confirmed ballots were cast and tabulated in accord with the law and to ensure no unlawful ballots were cast.

The campaign's filings are available here:
Exhibit One
Exhibit Two
Exhibit Three
Exhibit Four

Michigan Democratic Party
November 13, 2020

Michigan Democratic Party Statement on Court’s Decision to Toss out GOP Lawsuit

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes regarding today’s decision from the Wayne County CIrcuit Court.

“Today’s decision reaffirms what Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and other experts have reported, Michigan’s election system is safe and secure. There is no evidence of fraud and everything the GOP has alleged happened at the TCF Center is simply fiction. It is clear the Republicans will go to extreme lengths to undermine the results of this election.  We applaud Judge Timothy Kenny for his clear and decisive decision. It is time to respect the will of the voters in Michigan and put an end to these senseless lawsuits.”

Nov. 17, 2020 Wayne County Board of Canvassers Meeting - Michigan United


Michigan United
November 1617, 2020

Wayne County Board of Canvassers reverses decision, certifies the vote

More than 300 residents waited for hours to testify against the racist attack on democracy
In a dramatic turn of events, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers reversed itself late Tuesday night and certified the vote in Wayne County. Earlier in the night, the board had deadlocked 2-2 along party lines, which would have been the first time the Board had ever refused to certify an election. This would have set the stage to invalidate more than 800,000 votes in Detroit and Wayne County, potentially swinging the outcome of the election if not for the more than 300 people who virtually packed the online meeting and waited for hours to testify during public comment.

Residents decried the Board’s action as undemocratic and a nakedly racist attempt to disenfranchise Black and Brown voters. They were clear that the small number of clerical errors that Republicans objected to, numbering only in the hundreds, should not invalidate nearly a million lawfully cast ballots.

“It is unconscionable that 800,000 votes would be thrown out because of a few small errors. I’m glad that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers eventually found a compromise that will allow every vote to be counted,” said Kate Mason, Michigan United Election Protection Coordinator. “Victory today belongs to the hundreds of people from across the state who came forward to demand justice, and to the volunteers who have been observing and protecting the vote these past weeks.”

The rationale for the obstruction was a discrepancy in the number of votes cast with those listed in the poll books by a couple of hundred votes. This was explained to the board during the hearing by representatives from the clerk’s office as normal human error. Such imbalances are not uncommon. They occurred in Kent, Kalamazoo, and Macomb counties in the August primary elections, but the board had no problem certifying ballots then. In fact, Canvassing boards for decades have certified election results even where there were unbalanced precincts.


Michigan Democratic Party
November 17, 2020

Michigan Democratic Party Statement on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers Failure to Certify the Vote

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes.

“In an outrageous display of partisan posturing, the two Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refused to certify the election results.  Monica Palmer and William Hartmann have chosen to tarnish their personal legacy by picking up the GOP banner of making allegations without any evidence.  For the Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to buy into conspiracy theories and completely disregard the will of the voters in Michigan is not only shameful but a complete dereliction of duties.

It was made clear by the comments during the meeting by Palmer and Hartmann, that they have no true understanding of the task they have been charged with and zero understanding of Michigan statutes governing recounts.  This action does away with a long and proud history of Wayne County Board of Canvassers acting in a truly bipartisan fashion, protecting the sanctity of the vote and instilling confidence in Wayne County residents that their votes were indeed counted and counted correctly.  Which is exactly what happened this year.  The actions of Palmer and Hartman disrespects and disregards the voters of Wayne County, the incredibly hard work of the dedicated poll workers and clerks of Wayne County all in the name of partisan showboating.    

Before public comment concluded and the business of the meeting was done this evening, Laura Cox, Chair of the MIGOP released a statement taking credit for persuading the Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refusing to certify the election results.  This just confirms that this is nothing more than political showboating based on partisan positioning.  Even during the meeting, Palmer and Hartmann conceded that their actions would not impact any results. 

While bringing shame on themselves and MIGOP leadership, Palmer and Hartmann have now shown us they are willing to violate the oath they took when they were appointed to the Board of Canvassers.”


Michigan Democratic Party
November 17, 2020

Michigan Democratic Party Statement on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers Reversal in Certifying the Election Results

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes regarding the Wayne County Board of Canvassers reversal on certifying the election results.

“For several hours tonight we heard from Michigan residents outraged by the initial decision of the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to not certify the vote. Their words were full of passion, filled with anger and outrage for the blatant racism that was on display.  Their impassioned pleas, along with the leadership of Wayne County Board of Canvassers Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch, led to a reversal of the board’s initial decision. The Wayne County vote was certified tonight and they have requested that the Secretary of State conduct an audit of the election results. We applaud this decision and are thrilled that the voices of over 800,000 Wayne County voters have been heard and their votes have been properly counted.  We were reminded tonight about the importance of speaking up and speaking out.  We are deeply thankful to all of you that took the time to share your story tonight. You made a difference.”

typical fundraising email from Nov. 17

Great Lakes Justice Center
November 17, 2020

Election Fraud Emergency Appeal Filed in the Michigan Supreme Court

Lansing, Michigan – Great Lakes Justice Center (GLJC) today filed an emergency appeal of the Court of Appeals order denying GLJC’s appeal requesting a results audit of the election and for an injunction stopping the certification of the election results. The complaint alleges significant fraud in the election vote-counting procedures. Former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson signed an affidavit stating she reviewed the complaint and affidavits and supported the granting of an injunction and having an audit. The suit states Wayne County election officials allowed illegal, unlawful, and fraudulent processing of votes cast in last Tuesday’s election. Numerous witnesses have filed sworn affidavits under oath attesting to the fraudulent activities they observed directly. These acts disenfranchised lawful voters and potentially changed the outcome of the election. A copy of the appeal, the complaint, and all affidavits can be found at

Examples of the numerous legal and factual errors in the trial court decision include:

  • Judge Kenny declined to enforce the clear language of the Michigan Constitution permitting voters to request an audit to review the “accuracy and integrity” of the election.
  • Judge Kenny places great emphasis on the fact that Plaintiffs and their witnesses failed to attend a walk-through meeting for poll challengers held prior to the election. However, neither the Plaintiffs nor their witnesses were informed of this meeting. It is impossible to attend a meeting that a person is not made aware of and has no knowledge that it is being held. Yet, the trial court holds their non-attendance against them in his decision.
  • Judge Kenny places great emphasis on the fact that a large computer monitor was available for poll challengers to review the names of voters as votes were tabulated. The court fails to note that these monitors are meaningless if the poll challengers are denied the right to see the actual ballots being counted so they can compare the names on the actual ballots with the names appearing on the monitor. The trial court ignored this clear violation.
  • Judge Kenny emphasizes that no official challenges were filed, but once again he leaves out important facts. Plaintiffs attached numerous affidavits testifying to the fact that challenges were simply denied on site, were not accepted by Defendants, and many of the poll challengers were denied re-entry and/or access to the counting room in order to make a challenge. Defendants literally locked them out of the room.
David A. Kallman, Senior Counsel with the GLJC, stated, “Voters are entitled to the enforcement of their constitutional rights, to know that their elections are conducted in a fair and legal manner, and to ensure every legal vote is properly counted. We ask the Supreme Court to enjoin the certification of this fraudulent election and order a results-oriented audit of the vote in Wayne County.”

The Great Lakes Justice Center is a non-profit corporation dealing with Constitutional liberties and other civil rights issues. The attorneys at the center have spent countless hours to protect its client’s constitutional freedoms and are grateful to minister to such important causes. To support the Great Lakes Justice Center’s important work to protect our nation’s first freedoms, please visit them at

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
November 19, 2020

Trump campaign statement on Michigan litigation

“This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted.”

- Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York
Michigan Democratic Party
November 19, 2020

Michigan Democratic Party Statement on Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers Attempt to Reverse the Certification of the County Election Results

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes regarding the Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers attempting to reverse the certification of the county election results.

“Rather than recognizing and apologizing for their conduct as members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann are attempting to reverse their decision again after certifying the election results on Tuesday evening. As we witnessed at the meeting earlier this week, it was abundantly clear that Chair Palmer has absolutely no idea what the role of the canvassing board is and no understanding of what her duties are as the Chair. And though she and Hartmann reversed their initial misguided vote at that meeting, they are now attempting to circumvent the canvassing process in Michigan by signing baseless affidavits that make outrageous claims against their fellow board members and the voters that bravely and boldly participated in the meeting on Tuesday.  It is clear that Palmer and Hartmann are simply kowtowing to the GOP party leadership. There is no legal basis to their claims nor does there exist a path for them to “take back” their vote.  Certifying all election results for the state is now in the hands of the Michigan Board of Canvassers. 

Monica Palmer issued a statement yesterday and in it, claimed “Democrats went off the hinges trying to suggest we wanted to suppress the Black vote, and that was not the case.” Racist conduct and acts of racism cannot be excused or denied because the perpetrator of the conduct or act declares that their intent was not racist.  Chair Palmer’s conduct and comments at the Board of Canvassers’ meeting on Tuesday were racist.  The fact that she claims now to be unable to understand that is nothing more than further reason for her to remove herself from that body and from public service entirely.  The time for silence on these matters is indeed over.  If she declines to resign, she should be removed.  Ignorance is not an excuse for racist conduct.  There is no political courage in the statement she issued, she continues to be misguided by GOP party leadership, and her furtherance of this issue will only invite more outrage.”
BSC 11232020 Draft <br>
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
November 19, 2020

Statement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on planned audits to follow certification of the Nov. 3, 2020, general election

Throughout my tenure as Michigan Secretary of State, and indeed long before, I have spoken repeatedly on the importance of post-election audits to ensure Michiganders can trust the outcome of our elections as an accurate reflection of the will of the people.

I’m thrilled that we are on track to perform a statewide risk-limiting audit of November’s general election, which we’ve been building towards and planning for over the last 22 months, as well as local procedural audits of individual jurisdictions.

For example, earlier this year following the March 10 presidential primary my office conducted Michigan’s first statewide risk-limiting audit pilot, which demonstrated the results of our elections are accurate and provided an extra layer of security as we prepared for November’s election.

The statewide risk-limiting audit will be accompanied by the routine local procedural audits that will review the accuracy and process of elections in local communities, as have been carried out following the November 2019 election and May 2020 election. And as always, under state law our department conducts these audits after the Board of State Canvassers has certified the election. This is because it is only after statewide certification that election officials have legal access to the documentation needed to conduct such audits.

Importantly, while the Risk Limiting Audit is a proactive, voluntary, and planned action our office is taking to confirm the integrity of our elections and identify areas for future improvement, local procedural audits consider clerical errors identified before and on election day, in addition to issues identified during canvasses. This a typical, standard procedure following election certification, and one that will be carried out in Wayne County and any other local jurisdictions where the data shows notable clerical errors following state certification of the November election.

Notably, audits are neither designed to address nor performed in response to false or mythical allegations of “irregularities” that have no basis in fact. Where evidence exists of actual fraud or wrongdoing, it should be submitted in writing to the Bureau of Elections, which refers all credible allegations to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation.

> Link to PDF version of this page

# # #
For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer

Nov. 20, 2020 Monica Palmer addresses Wayne County Board of Canvassers vote - Detroit Free Press

Democratic National Committee
November 20, 2020 12:50 PM

Bipartisan Chorus Slams Michigan Leaders for Meeting with Trump Amid Bogus Election Claims 

“This goes beyond partisan politics, and it’s an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters,"

Ahead of Trump’s meeting with Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a growing bipartisan chorus of Michigan leaders have spoken out against the meeting and the attempts by the Trump administration to circumvent the will of Michigan voters. As of the last vote total, President-elect Biden is leading Michigan by over 150,000 votes. 

Both Republican and Democratic Michigan Leaders have condemned the visit and attempts from the Trump campaign to reject the will of voters: 

Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Paul Mitchell in Detroit News: “It’s because of that risk that we must call upon elected and appointed leaders in Michigan to rise above the political pressure and the conspiracy theories and to lead as if your state and your country depend on you. Because they do. We remind our colleagues at all levels of government that history will judge us all and we should all act accordingly. Doing the right thing and the hard thing are often the same thing. Let’s show the country that Michigan residents believe in our democracy more than anything else.” 

Rep. Fred Upton: “The margin in Michigan is more than 145,000 and will not be overturned … No one has been able to show credible evidence of voter fraud, and I have not heard of any irregularities from my district. It's time for us to move forward." 

The Hill: Rep. Debbie Dingell: “This goes beyond partisan politics, and it’s an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters,"

Fox 2 Detroit: State Rep. Tyrone Carter: “They need to choose the United States over the person sitting in the office. He is not a king, he is not a dictator, he is an occupier,"

Detroit News Editorial: “Trump's ongoing scheming to throw out votes and block the certification of Michigan's election results will not produce more than the more than 150,000 votes separating him from President-elect Joe Biden. But they will enhance the division and distrust emanating from the recent election.”

Greeting Shirkey in Detroit at DTW:

Fox2 Detroit: Michigan Senate Leader Shirkey swarmed by activists at airport before flying to meet with Trump: “At the airport, activists holding signs chanted ‘protect our vote’ at Shirkey as he printed out a boarding pass and got in line to walk through security.”

Nick LaFave: Sen Shirkey flying out of Detroit to DC for his meeting w @realDonaldTrump.  

Greeting Shirkey and Chatfield in DC: 

A mobile billboard showing the CNN projection of Biden’s victory in Michigan and quoting Rep. Upton: “The votes have been counted. The American people have spoken, and they have chosen Joe Biden to serve as our next president.” See More

Brad Woodhouse: “Check out the mobile billboard we have driving around the White House today greeting the Michigan Republicans conspiring with ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ to steal the election. Courtesy of Save My Country Action Fund” 

Protestors at Reagan Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C. 

Kyle Stewart of NBC News: “.@SenMikeShirkey just arrived at Reagan Airport and was immediately surrounded by protestors chanting “Certify the results!” Shirkey and other Michigan GOP lawmakers are expected to meet with @realDonaldTrump today.”

Marshall Cohen of CNN: “Protesters greeted Michigan Senate Majority Leader @SenMikeShirkey with ‘shame on you’ chants when he arrived today in DC before his WH meeting with Trump, who is urging the Michigan legislature to overturn Biden's win. Shirkey has previously said ‘that's not going to happen.’”

Politico: “Shirkey and state Sen. Tom Barrett were met by a throng of protesters and reporters outside Reagan National Airport upon their arrival Friday. The pair passed through the airport without talking to the media. Earlier this week Shirkey told Bridge Michigan, a nonprofit news outlet, that the idea the legislature would defy the voters is ‘not going to happen.’’

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield
November 20, 2020

Legislative leaders meet with President Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield today released the following statement after their meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House:

"The President of the United States extended invitations to us on Wednesday evening. We each accepted his invitation as we would accept an invitation from any sitting President if asked to meet at the White House. We were proud to be joined by our colleagues to represent Michigan in our nation's capital.

"We used our time in the White House to deliver a letter to President Trump making clear our support for additional federal funds to help Michigan in the fight against COVID-19. We have since sent the same correspondence to congressional leaders.

"Months ago, Michigan received funds through the federal CARES Act, and we used that funding to quickly support front line workers, improve testing, ensure adequate PPE, provide additional support to out-of­-work Michiganders, and deliver assistance to local businesses that are struggling through no fault of their own. We once again face a time in our state when additional support would go a long way to help those same residents who need our help.

"We highlighted our commitment to appropriating further federal dollars to Michiganders most in need as we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19. We also emphasized our commitment to fiscal responsibility in the state budget as we move forward.

"The Senate and House Oversight Committees are actively engaged in a thorough review of Michigan's elections process and we have faith in the committee process to provide greater transparency and accountability to our citizens. We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors, just as we have said throughout this election.

"Michigan's certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections."

Michigan Republican Party
November 21, 2020

Joint Letter From Ronna McDaniel and Laura Cox

Saturday, November 21, 2020 - The following is a joint letter issued by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.

To the Members of the Board of State Canvassers:

This board faces a stark choice: it can either ignore numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities, leaving the distrust and sense of procedural disenfranchisement felt by many Michigan voters to fester for years; or it can adjourn for fourteen days to allow for a full audit and investigation into those anomalies and irregularities before certifying the results of the 2020 General Election, allowing all Michiganders to have confidence in the results. On behalf of the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) and Michigan Republican Party (“MRP”) , we encourage the Board to grant the request made by John James for Senate, Inc. (“James Campaign”) and adjourn for fourteen days to allow for a full, transparent audit of Wayne County’s 2020 General Election results.

We echo the concerns voiced by the James Campaign and Mr. James in their request and letter of November 20, 2020. The procedural and accounting irregularities identified by the James Campaign’s request are credible, deeply concerning, and threaten to undermine Michigander’s faith in the integrity of the November 2020 General Election. To simply gloss over those irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan’s electorate. In light of the already unprecedented nature of this election—conducted largely by mail in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, it would be a grievous dereliction of this Board’s duty to the people of Michigan not to ensure that the irregularities identified by the James Campaign are thoroughly investigated by a full audit before certifying Wayne County’s results. As the James Campaign has adeptly explained, such an audit could be completed during a fourteen day adjournment of this Board, and neither that adjournment nor the audit of Wayne County’s results would impermissibly delay certification of the election results beyond the statutory deadline of December 7, 2020.

Election officials in other states have taken discretionary steps to ensure that their voters could have full faith in the integrity of their state’s results. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered a full, statewide audit by hand when confronted with reports of numerical anomalies, procedural errors, and alleged malfeasance despite not being required to do so by Georgia’s laws. Secretary Raffensperger noted that though he thought it was very unlikely that recount would overturn the state’s election results, there was no reason to hurry certification along without first ensuring that all reported procedural irregularities were fully examined. He explained, “With the margin being so close, it will require a full by-hand recount in each county. This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount, and a recanvass all once; it will be a heavy lift, but we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification.” Secretary Raffensperger took this discretionary decision to engage in a full hand recount despite Georgia law not necessarily requiring a full audit by statewide hand recount. See O.C.G.A. § 21-2-498 and SEB Rule 183-1-15-.04. Secretary Raffensperger made this decision in recognition of the imperative that if our government is to function with any legitimacy, voters must have full confidence in the integrity of an election’s result, regardless of whether their preferred candidate won. We encourage this Board to follow that example and order a full audit of Wayne County’s election results and receipts to ensure that Michiganders receive at least the same level of procedural safeguards as Georgians.

We are distressed by the comments of some public officials in Michigan casually dismissing the significant problems and irregularities seen in Wayne County. While those comments may be motivated by a desire to bolster confidence in the election results, its actual effect has been to make the over 2.6 million Trump and Republican voters in the state even more distrustful that Michigan’s election officials are ignoring their demands for free and fair elections. These issues cannot simply be ignored away or brushed under the rug, they must be confronted and thoroughly examined. We implore you to listen to the pleas of your voters and order the audit.

Ronna McDaniel
Republican National Committee

Laura Cox
Michigan Republican Party

Michigan Democratic Party
November 22, 2020

Board of State Canvassers
Michigan Department of State
Lansing, MI 48918

Dear Board Members:

I write on behalf of the Michigan Democratic Party with a request: that on Monday, you carry out your responsibility under Michigan law to certify the results of the 2020 general election.  

This is a simple but fundamental step. Our system of government draws its power from the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box. That will, which lies at the foundation of the state and federal constitutions to which each of you—like every elected official in the State of Michigan—has sworn an oath, must be given effect.  

By any measure, the 2020 general election in Michigan was a remarkable achievement by municipal, county, and state election officials. More than 70% of eligible voters participated, marking the state’s highest participation rate since 1960; the turnout exceeded 5.5 million people, reflecting the highest number of Michiganders to vote in any statewide election. All of this took place in the midst of a global pandemic, this should be cause for commendation and celebration. 

Unfortunately, the incumbent President and his political party have decided to use the weeks following the election to spread falsehoods and to sow doubt about our state’s democratic process. Their fundamental concern, of course, is not with the process at all, but instead with its result—that more than 2.8 million Michiganders cast ballots for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, constituting 154,187 more votes than those cast for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. But they attempt to mask their actual concern with baseless allegations.   

Most of the claims of “irregularities and anomalies” have been dismissed by courts, after having been leveled in multiple lawsuits. In the words of one judge, the Republicans’ “interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.” Costantino v. City of Detroit, Case No. 20-014780 (3d Jud. Cir. Ct., Wayne Cnty.) (Kenny, C.J.).  

In addition to now raising recycled claims that have already failed in court, the Republican Party also purports to be concerned about the number of unbalanced precincts in Detroit, although there is no claim that these result from anything other than clerical error nor is there any claim that the vote total is affected by any imbalance. The total imbalance implicates at most 450 votes, i.e., 0.029% of the margin that separates President-Elect Biden from President Trump. The imbalance is also much smaller than it was in 2016. In that election, in which President Trump prevailed by 10,704 votes statewide, more than 58% of Detroit’s precincts had unexplained imbalances. This year, only 28% did. Certification was straightforward in 2016, just as it should be this year. The strength and dependability of our democracy does not depend on the identity of the prevailing candidates. 

In an effort to postpone the certification of the election results, the Republican Party now demands a pre-certification audit of Wayne County. The Board of State Canvassers, however, has no authority to order such an audit. Moreover, under state law, an audit will already occur—but its timing is tied to the completion of the Board’s work, such that any delay in the Board’s business will only serve to delay the audit. Mich. Comp. Laws s. 168.31a; see Michigan Post-Election Audit Manual. State law also provides that the audit “is not a recount and does not change any certified election results.” Mich.Comp.Laws s.168.31a (emphasis added).

The attempt to use an audit process to prevent certification of the election cannot be countenanced by this Board, lest it become an ingrained venue for post-election skirmishes. The administration of a democracy involving the participation of 5.5 million people is necessarily a complex undertaking; immaterial imperfections are studied and learned from, but they are not now and never have been a basis to cast aside the results of the election. Indeed, the post-2016 election audit in Detroit found that certain precincts were unbalanced because of human error; there was no evidence whatsoever of fraud. We are confident that this year’s audit will reveal the same.

Unlike the Republican Party, the Michigan Democratic Party is aware that there were other federal and state offices on the ballot as well. In some races, our party prevailed. In others, we did not. Those matters were decided at the polls, and we wish all of those chosen by Michiganders well. The certification process must not be manipulated to serve as some sort of retroactive referendum on the expressed will of the voters. That is simply not how democracy works.  

As a Michigander, a voter, and the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, I ask only what the people of Michigan deserve. The Board should follow state law and certify the clear results of the 2020 election so that the officials elected by the people of this state may get to work on the many challenges that await them.  


Lavora Barnes
Chair, Michigan Democratic Party

Michigan Republican Party
November 23, 2020

Cox Remarks To The State Board Of Canvassers

LANSING, Mich., November 23, 2020 – The following remarks were delivered by Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox at today’s State Board of Canvassers meeting.

“I am asking you to consider delaying certification.  There are too many questions that need to be answered regarding this election. Too many numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities.  We need to remove the distrust and sense of procedural disenfranchisement felt by many Michigan voters in place. This vote will be certified, and the will of the people will be upheld.  But we need to ensure there is a fair and accurate vote count first.

This election had its issues. At every step this election process has been stacked against Republicans.  Starting with the challenger process.

Every election, the Michigan Republican Party chair signs credentials for thousands of Republicans who volunteer to observe and challenge the election counting process to uphold the integrity of the vote.  This year, I was honored to perform that duty and thousands showed up across the state.

The majority of election officials treated all challengers regardless of party with dignity and respect and let them participate meaningfully in the process. One location and one jurisdiction stood out above others as being inhospitable and hostile to Republican challenges—the TCF Center.

From the moment issues started until today, the reaction from the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and partisan Democrats has been antagonistic, belligerent and disrespectful.  I appreciate the hard work of election officials but I also will not let Republican challengers be disrespected and shut out of the process.

And last week, the Wayne County Board of canvassers noticed significant problems with the election counting process across the county. When the Republican canvassers asked the state to take a little more time to investigate, they were treated again with hostility and intimidation. But rather than treat these threats seriously, many Democrat elected officials looked to further intimidate and threaten these officials.

This is why I implored this board of canvassers to provide a meaningful review of Wayne County.

In the future, I would ask this board to do three things.

First, please use your platform to ensure that all challengers and participants in the election process are treated equally regardless of party. 

Second, please use your platform to end the threats and intimidation to Republicans and all parties.  All deserve to have an election with integrity where every legal vote counts.

Third, please demand more from the election counting process so all questions can be answered to ensure a fair and accurate vote. I ask you to do that today.

I will continue to stand up for Republicans and demand that their rights are respected. Thank you, Chairman.”

Nov. 23, 2020 Michigan Board of State Canvassers Certifies Election Results - C-SPAN


Meeting of the Board of State Canvassers

November 23, 2020

Jeannette Bradshaw - Chairperson
Aaron Van Langevelde – Vice Chairperson
Julie Matuzak
Norman Shinkle


Consideration of meeting minutes for approval (October 15, 2020 meeting).

Board action on agenda item: The Board approved the minutes of the October 15, 2020 meeting as submitted. Moved by Matuzak; supported by Van Langevelde. Ayes: Bradshaw, Van Langevelde, Matuzak, Shinkle. Nays: None. Motion carried.

Canvass and certification of the November 3, 2020 general election. Board action on agenda item: Three motions were offered.

(1) Based on an examination of the election returns received by the Secretary of State for the November 3, 2020 general election, the Board certified that the attached reports are true statements of the votes cast at the election for the offices certified by this Board, and for the Electors of President and Vice President of the United States; the Board further certified that the persons named on the attached listing were duly elected for the indicated offices, and State Proposals 20-1 and 20-2 passed. Moved by Matuzak; supported by Bradshaw. Ayes: Bradshaw, Van Langevelde, Matuzak. Nays: None. Abstention: Shinkle. Motion carried.

Time of certification: 4:34 p.m.
BSC 11232020 Draft Mtg Minutes


Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

November 23, 2020

Statement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on the Board of State Canvassers certification of Nov. 3 election

"Democracy has prevailed.

Today’s vote of the State Board of Canvassers to certify Michigan’s November election confirms the truth: the election was fair and secure, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters.

A record breaking 5.5 million Michigan citizens cast ballots in this election, more than ever before in our state’s history. Their will is clear and unequivocal.

Now we turn to the important work of implementing a statewide risk limiting audit and local procedural audits to affirm the integrity of the process and identify opportunities for improvement. And we will continue working with lawmakers at the state and federal level to strengthen our elections even further in the months ahead.

Our democracy, like the election officials who administer it, is resilient.  Today it and they survived an unprecedented attack on its integrity. There will no doubt be more similar attacks in the future, based in falsehoods and misinformation. But then, as now, we will be ready to respond as always with facts, data, and the truth."

# # #
For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer


Governor Gretchen Whitmer
November 23, 2020

Governor Whitmer Statement on State Board of Canvassers Vote to Certify 2020 Election Results

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement after the Michigan State Board of Canvassers voted to certify the results of the November 2020 election:

“I commend the three members of the State Board of Canvassers who voted to follow the law and certify the 2020 election results today. The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th. I also want to thank Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the local clerks across Michigan who made sure this year's election was free, fair and secure, and the voters who turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. Now, it’s time to put this election behind us and come together as a state to defeat our common enemy: COVID-19.”


The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jillian Anderson

Amistad Project Files Election Litigation in Michigan, claims "officials brazenly violated election laws ... to advance a partisan political agenda"

Petition seeks to preserve evidence of malfeasance and require state lawmakers to intervene

Amherst, Virginia/November 27, 2020 – The Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society filed litigation yesterday asking the Michigan Supreme Court to physically secure all evidence of irregularities in the 2020 election and declare the election results invalid on the basis of unlawful conduct by state and local officials.

“In numerous instances, state and local officials brazenly violated election laws in order to advance a partisan political agenda,” said Phill Kline, Director of The Amistad Project. “The pattern of lawlessness was so pervasive and widespread that it deprived the people of Michigan of a free and fair election, throwing the integrity of the entire process into question.”

The litigation, which is the product of lengthy and intensive investigations by the Amistad Project, outlines several major violations by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and election officials at all levels and argues that these violations effectively disenfranchised millions of voters by depriving them of both due process and equal protection.

Specifically, the suit notes that Benson circumvented the explicit intent of the Michigan Legislature, which established an absentee ballot process designed to minimize the risk of fraud. Benson violated numerous provisions of this process by sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to every household in the state without verifying whether the intended recipients were still residing at the same location, whether they were eligible to vote in 2020, or even whether they were still alive.

Benson compounded the affront by establishing a process for online absentee ballot applications, again without statutory authority. This precludes the possibility of obtaining an actual signature from the voter, as required by law. The secretary of state’s unlawful actions flooded the state with absentee ballots, which are inherently less secure than in-person voting.

Courts have repeatedly found that mail-in and absentee ballots are particularly susceptible to fraud. This vulnerability was exacerbated by the numerous irregularities during the vote counting process, particularly in Wayne County, detailed in numerous affidavits included with the Amistad Project’s litigation.

The affidavits describe election workers counting ballots from voters whose names did not appear on official voter rolls, failing to verify signatures on absentee ballots, and even backdating absentee ballots that arrived too late to be counted. Eyewitnesses also reported the late arrival of tens of thousands of “unsecured and unsealed” ballots.

Throughout the vote-counting process, both election observers and the public were obstructed from meaningful access by election officials, constituting yet another violation of state law. When election workers duplicated flawed ballots that could not be read by machine, for instance, they ignored the legislative mandate that a representative from each major party sign off on every ballot — a crucial safeguard designed to prevent unscrupulous election workers from altering or otherwise defying voter intent.

Notably, many of those election workers were paid directly by grants from an organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), which was funded by $350 million donated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Most of the grants awarded by CTCL went to jurisdictions in crucial battleground states that reliably vote for left-leaning candidates.

In addition to paying the salaries of election workers and funding the purchase of voting equipment, the CTCL grants came with strict conditions designed to promote absentee voting and discourage in-person voting. Failure to abide by those conditions would enable CTCL to revoke the grant monies, giving the private organization de facto control over the election process.

The Amistad Project is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to direct that the Michigan Legislature conduct a comprehensive investigation into all claims of irregularity and fraud in order to determine which votes are valid. Since it is unlikely that these investigations could be completed in time to meet constitutional deadlines for appointing presidential Electors, it is likely that the only remedy available in the presidential contest would be for the Michigan Legislature to exercise its lawful authority to appoint the state’s Electors.



Michigan Senate


COMMITTEE: Senate Committee on Oversight

DATE: Tuesday, December 1, 2020

TIME: 10:15 a.m. or immediately following session.

LOCATION: Room 1100, Binsfeld Office Building
                    201 Townsend Street
                    Lansing, MI 48933

Jackie Mosher, Committee Clerk


Dec. 1, 2020 Michigan Senate Oversight Committee Hearing
- Michigan Senate


Michigan Republican Party
December 1, 2020

Cox Statement On Senate Election Integrity Hearing

LANSING, Mich., December 1, 2020 – The following statement is from Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox, regarding today’s Michigan Senate hearing on the integrity of our elections.

“I applaud the Michigan Senate for taking up such an important issue in today’s hearing. These hearings will continue to expose the unprecedented amount of irregularities that Michigan experienced in this election. As we learn the truth of what happened on Election Day and the days following, I call on all of our leaders to take steps to ensure that these embarrassing abuses never happen again.”


Michigan Democratic Party
December 1, 2020

Michigan Democratic Party Statement on Senate Oversight Hearing

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes.

“Holding an in-person hearing with no opportunity to testify virtually during a global pandemic is reckless and irresponsible. Yet, the GOP controlled Michigan Senate has done exactly that today, even with another state legislator testing positive.  False claims of illegal actions at the TCF Center have been debunked by the court system and the lawsuits have been withdrawn or dismissed. The vote has been certified, Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes. With just one month left of this legislative session it is unconscionable that the Michigan Legislature is spending their time allowing conspiracy theorists to call into question the integrity and security of our elections system.  Michiganders are hurting and right now the legislature should be focused on COVID-19 relief for our working families, our front-line workers, and everyone that has been impacted by this deadly virus.” 


ACLU of Michigan

December 1, 2020


DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) issues the following statement regarding the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee’s hearing today: 
“The Nov. 3 Election in Michigan was secure and accurate, and every eligible vote cast has been counted. Today’s state Senate Oversight hearing only sows distrust in our electoral system.

“During a pandemic, poll workers, election officials, and community members courageously rose to the task to hold a fair and transparent election. More than 5.5 million Michiganders cast ballots in this election — one of the most secure and successful elections in our state’s history. 

“The people of Michigan have made their voices heard loud and clear: The outcome of the election has been decided.” 


Michigan Republican Party
December 2, 2020

Cox Statement On Joint Legal Briefing With Mayor Giuliani

LANSING, Mich., December 2, 2020 – The following statement is from Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox regarding the 2020 legal briefing hosted today with the president’s personal attorney, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on election irregularities in Michigan. Click here to watch the full briefing.

“I was so proud to host today’s legal briefing with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to give our grassroots activists an update on the election irregularities we have experienced in Michigan. From the minute we learned about these irregularities, the Michigan Republican Party jumped into action to ensure we collected all the evidence and fought any and all efforts to eliminate transparency from our elections. I look forward to hearing Mayor Giuliani’s testimony in our legislature this evening.”

Michigan House

Date:    12/2/2020 - new
Time:    06:00 PM or after committees are given leave by the House to meet, whichever time is later.
Meeting:    Standing Committee Meeting Oversight

Representative Rep. Matt Hall

All bills referred to this committee
Location: Room 519, House Office Building, Lansing, MI
Clerk: Taylor Thrush

Broadcast:      House Committee 1
Agenda:     Presentation from Mayor Rudy Giuliani, from President Donald J. Trump’s legal team



Dec. 2, 2020 Michigan House Oversight Committee Hearing - Michigan House Republicans


Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
December 2, 2020

Reason for Ballot Rejection Number rejected % of 3.3M ABs
Ballot Arrived after 8 p.m. Nov. 3  3,328 0.1%
No Signature 1,852 0.06%
Signature Did Not Match 1,400 0.04%
Voter Moved to Another MI Jurisdiction Before Election Day 4,090 0.12%
Voter Cast Absentee Ballot While Alive but Died Before Election Day 3,469 0.11%
Voter Registration Cancelled Before Election Day 1,015 0.03%
Envelope Submitted Without Ballot 85 <0.01%
ID Not Confirmed (for first time voter who registered by mail)  58 <0.01%
Voter Sentenced or Incarcerated Before Election Day 5 <0.01%
Total  15,302 0.46%
A breakdown by jurisdiction can be found here.
# # #
For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer

"As my four-year-old son and I were finishing up decorating the house for Christmas on Saturday night, and he was about to sit down to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns in the dark of night.  

I have always been an energetic advocate for the right and importance of peaceful protest as enshrined in the United States Constitution, however there is a line crossed when gatherings are done with the primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office they solemnly took as elected officials. 

The actions of these latest protestors are an extension of the noise and clouded efforts to spread false information about the security and accuracy of our elections that we’ve all endured in the month since the polls closed on November 3. Through blatantly false press releases, purely political legislative hearings, bogus legal claims and so called 'affidavits' that fail to allege any clear or cogent evidence of wrongdoing, those unhappy with the results of this election have perpetuated an unprecedented, dangerous, egregious campaign to erode the public’s confidence in the results of one of the most secure, accessible and transparent elections in our state’s history.

The demands made outside my home were unambiguous, loud and threatening. They targeted me in my role as Michigan’s Chief Election Officer. But the threats of those gathered weren’t actually aimed at me – or any other elected officials in this state. They were aimed at the voters. 

Through threats of violence, intimidation, and bullying, the armed people outside my home and their political allies seek to undermine and silence the will and voices of every voter in this state, no matter who they voted for. Their goal is to overturn and upend the results of an election that are clear and unequivocal, and that 5.5 million Michigan citizens participated in.

But their efforts won’t carry the day. Because our democracy is strong. The will of the people is clear. And I will stand up every day in my job for all voters, even the votes of the protestors who banded together outside my home. 

I began my career investigating violent neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations throughout the country. A photo of Detroiter Viola Liuzzo, along with a replica of her Michigan license plate from the vehicle she was driving when she was murdered, hangs in my office. I am acutely aware of the risks borne throughout history of those working to stand guard over and protect our democratic process. Nothing about the incessant and graphic threats made outside my home, or those that flood my social media accounts, will deter me, my team, or the more than 1,600 election administrators across the state of Michigan from doing our jobs.

And that job is simple: to defend and protect every Michigan voter, their choice, and their votes. I will continue to guard every citizen’s vote because no matter how one voted or who they voted for, where they live, or what they look like, their vote is the lifeblood of our democracy. Ensuring it counts is central to our work as election officials. It’s in our oath of office, when we pledge to support the United States Constitution and that of the State of Michigan, both of which unequivocally and preeminently establish every citizen's fundamental right to vote.

I have spent my career defending and protecting the right to vote of every eligible citizen. That commitment has never wavered, and it will not waver now. I will continue as Michigan’s Secretary of State, proudly protecting and defending every voter and every vote."

# # #
For media questions, contact
Aneta Kiersnowski

Dec. 10, 2020 - Brief of Amicus Curiae City of Detroit in Support of Defendants in Texas v. Pennsylvania et. al. in the U.S. Supreme Court  [PDF]

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey
December 14, 2020

Shirkey issues statement regarding election

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, issued the following statement regarding the election and the electoral college:

“Today Michigan’s electors convene, according to state law, to cast their votes for the next president and vice president of the United States.  While there are some who still argue this should not take place, we must recognize that our feelings, our desires, and our disappointments are subordinate to the health of our democracy and the will of the majority.”

“Our country is bigger than one election.  Like many people, I am personally very disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election, but we cannot let that disappointment overshadow the wins of conservative candidates across our state and nation, nor can we allow that disappointment to erode the very foundation of our country.  There is more resolve in my fellow citizens and more to the enduring spirit of America than the partisan rhetoric that has dominated the last few weeks.”

“The Senate Oversight Committee met and continues to meet to hear concerns and review information related to Michigan’s election.  Thus far, the committee has heard testimony that brought to light opportunities for improvement in law and policy.  The body has subpoenaed the secretary of state and received thousands of documents to review.  And, numerous claims of fraud have been independently investigated, and in each instance, the claim is either found to be incorrect or incapable of being proven.  While the volume of information demonstrates a need to address certain vulnerabilities, we have not received evidence of fraud on a scale that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”

“Ultimately, this election will help spur change in Michigan.  One of the most significant parts of President Trump’s legacy may very well be his role in helping spotlight the areas of election law in need of improvement.  The Senate is steadfast in our commitment to pursue those improvements and will remain vigilant in our review of information and data.”

“Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation.  President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won Michigan’s presidential election.  It our responsibility as leaders to follow the law and move forward in pursuit of policies that contribute to the betterment of Michigan,” said Shirkey.

Dec. 14, 2020 Michigan electors meet. - C-SPAN
Attorney General Dana Nessel
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
December 14, 2020

AG, SOS: Plaintiff's Report in Antrim County Election Lawsuit Demonstrates Lack of Credible Evidence in Widespread Fraud or Wrongdoing

LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in an Antrim County court hearing today, did not object to the public release of a report on Dominion software from the partisan organization Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG), in order to demonstrate the “report” is actually another in a long stream of misguided, vague and dubious assertions designed to erode public confidence in the November presidential election.

“Let’s be clear: Michigan’s Nov. 3 general election in Michigan and across the country was the most secure in the nation’s history,” said Secretary Benson upon the release of the report. “There continues to be no evidence of widespread fraud, as affirmed by state and federal agencies including Attorney General William Barr, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  If the Trump campaign had any actual evidence of wrongdoing – or genuine suspicion thereof – they could have requested a hand recount of every ballot in the state.  They did not, instead choosing to allow shadowy organizations claiming expertise to throw around baseless claims of fraud in an effort to mislead American voters and undermine the integrity of the election. Their actions are a corruption of the courts and the rule of law, as the release of today’s report clearly demonstrates.”

A lawsuit filed in 13th Circuit Court, Bailey v Antrim County, seeks to challenge Antrim County’s election results, posing false claims of fraud and accompanied with a report filled with errors and clear bias.

“Oftentimes, a party will hire an expert witness to support the conclusion that the party wants or needs to reach. It’s why we give the other parties in a lawsuit a chance to depose the expert and challenge their qualifications in court,” Attorney General Nessel said. “Anyone can have an opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the opinion is based on fact or science.”

ASOG authored the “preliminary forensic audit,” which was made public by the judge today. The group, however, has no apparent expertise in election administration and technology. Their work is limited to the previous release and amplification of other false information and fake documents. As expected, the plaintiff’s most recent report on Antrim County is similarly critically flawed, filled with dramatic conclusions without any evidence to support them.

Today’s activity comes on the heels of last week’s announcement from the Department of State that the Bureau of Elections is planning the most comprehensive set of election audits in the state’s history. This will include a statewide risk-limiting audit, several local procedural audits, and a zero-margin risk-limiting-audit of all ballots in Antrim County. The latter, which will be conducted on Thursday, Dec. 17, is expected to confirm that votes cast for president were machine-tabulated correctly. A similar statewide risk-limiting audit demonstrated the accuracy of the state’s voting machines following the March 10 presidential primary.

In response to a previously unsigned version of the ASOG report, Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater made a preliminary declaration under oath for the court. In his statement, Brater said it was apparent to him “… that the report makes a series of unsupported conclusions, ascribes motives of fraud and obfuscation to processes that are easily explained as routine election procedures or error corrections, and suggests without explanation that elements of election software not used in Michigan are somehow responsible for tabulation or reporting.”

There are several legal concerns with the report and testimony submitted in Bailey v Antrim County, including the portions provided by Russell Ramsland, one of the “expert” witnesses in the case. A Detroit Free Press story from Nov. 21 quotes Rudy Giuliani as saying Michigan has “over-votes in numerous precincts of 150%, 200% and 300%.” Giuliani’s source was an affidavit from Ramsland, who is a former Republican congressional candidate.  All 19 of the precincts cited in his affidavit are in Minnesota, not Michigan. Ramsland has also inaccurately stated the voter turnout rate in Detroit, saying it was nearly three times higher than it actually was.

The qualifications of those who authored the report are suspect, with no evidence or credentials provided to back up their “expertise.” Authors in the report also make unverified and unsupported claims that “fraud,” “intentional errors” and “bad faith” decisions made by election officials led them to their conclusions in the report. Moreover, many of their assertions are unsupported by evidence, with some even constituting hearsay and clearly show that the authors lack first-hand knowledge of events.

Michigan Rule of Evidence 702 states that if the court determines that scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise if (1) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. That has not happened in this case yet.

Past court rulings have found that the trial court has a fundamental duty to ensure that all expert testimony is reliable (Gilbert v DaimlerChrysler Corp), and that the knowledge of the testimony must be more than “subjective belief or unsupported speculation” (Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals). At the conclusion of discovery, the Department of Attorney General will have the opportunity to request that the plaintiff’s report be stricken from use in these proceedings.

The public will be able to view the Department of State’s official audit of the Antrim County presidential election. Details will be announced prior to the audit’s commencement on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Follow this link to view a copy of Brater’s declaration.

# # #
For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer

January 11, 2021

Statewide risk-limiting election audit process to begin at 11 a.m.

Bipartisan effort to hand-count randomly-selected paper ballots expected to affirm accuracy of presidential results

The Michigan Department of State (MDOS), in cooperation with county and local election officials, will begin the process of conducting the statewide risk-limiting audit of the November 2020 general election Monday morning. A bipartisan group of officials will be conducting the first step in the process via livestream at 11 a.m. A link to the livestream will be posted on MDOS social media.

“Post-election audits are an important part of the elections process and are critical to both affirming the accuracy of the results and reinforcing citizen trust in the system,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This year more than ever, with the high volume of misinformation spread about what was an incredibly safe, secure and accurate election, conducting this bipartisan process openly and transparently is an important step in ensuring Michigan voters understand the truth about the security and integrity of our election system.”

The first step in the process involves using a random number, generated by rolling 20 ten-sided dice, to plug into the auditing software to randomly select ballots that will be pulled from any one of Michigan’s 1,520 local election jurisdictions and hand-reviewed. More than 18,000 ballots are expected to be retrieved in over half of the state’s election jurisdictions, more local jurisdictions than have ever participated in such an audit anywhere in the nation.

Following the random number generation, clerks will have two weeks to draw the corresponding ballots and review them. Once the process has been completed in each county MDOS will announce the results of the comparison between the randomly selected hand-reviewed ballots and the statewide machine-tabulated totals.

“Those spreading debunked conspiracy theories or trafficking in misinformation have done significant damage to the trust many have in our election system, and our democracy, but there is a path forward,” said Secretary Benson. “Conducting audits like these, which we have been preparing to do since my administration began, arms us with the facts and data needed to not only confirm the election results, but to restore faith in our elections and our democracy as a whole.”

Risk limiting audits are used to confirm the accuracy of ballot tabulation machines, by comparing the results from the hand count of the randomly selected paper ballots to the previously printed results from the machines. Michigan’s long-planned statewide audit is expected to confirm within a statistical level of certainty the results of the statewide presidential contest. A pilot audit after the presidential primary in March of 2020 already demonstrated the accuracy of Michigan’s elections.

The statewide risk-limiting audit will be conducted as Michigan counties, cities and townships continue carrying out more than 200 local procedural audits across the state, most of which have already been completed. All completed audits have confirmed the integrity and accuracy of local elections.

A link to the livestream of the bipartisan dice roll will be available on MDOS social media pages. Questions for the streaming or sharing of individual county ballot draws should be directed to the appropriate clerk.

# # #
For media questions, contact
Tracy Wimmer,4670,7-127-1633_100423_102534_102535---,00.html

Fact Checks

Ahead of and following the 2020 general election, Michiganders were inundated with more information about the administration of the election than ever before. Much of this information was inaccurate. Whether spread intentionally or unintentionally, false information about elections results led to confusion and doubt among our citizenry, and a reduction of faith in Michigan’s electoral process. This is dangerous for our democracy.  The Michigan Department of State provides the factual information below to provide all Michiganders certainty of what truly occurred in 2020.

    • Michigan's elections are decentralized

      Michigan’s elections are carried out by the 1,520 city and township clerks across the state. They are elected or appointed at the local level, and come from both major political parties or have no party affiliation. They are public servants, do their jobs with the highest integrity, and are committed to fair elections in their communities.

      Additionally, 83 county clerks play critical roles in administering elections by managing county level contracts with election vendors, generating and distributing election materials, programming election equipment, supporting and supplementing the work of local clerks, and providing information to voters.

      The Michigan Bureau of Elections provides guidance and standards to all clerks to ensure elections are carried out uniformly and in accordance with state and federal law across the state. The Secretary of State is the state’s chief election officer. She has broad authority over elections, but does not directly administer them.

  • Applications to vote absentee were mailed by the state

    In 2018, Michigan voters passed a constitutional amendment that gives all voters the right to vote absentee without stating a reason – in other words, all voters in Michigan have the right to vote by mail.

    To do so they must first submit an application that includes their signature, and that signature must match the signature on file with their voter registration. Only then will they be issued an absentee ballot, which they must return in an envelope with an additional matching signature.

    The applications have been available on the MDOS website for many years, and have been frequently mailed to voters by both political parties, candidate campaigns and numerous non-partisan organizations. Many of those groups mailed the applications in the 2020 election cycle again, as did the Michigan Bureau of Elections at the direction of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. In subsequent lawsuits, multiple judges ruled that this was within the Secretary’s authority.

  • Applications to vote absentee went to all registered voters in Michigan

    The Bureau of Elections mailed applications to vote absentee to all Michiganders registered to vote who were not already going to receive one from their county, city or township clerk. Some clerks had already decided to mail applications to their voters, and some voters had already placed themselves on permanent absentee lists, which ensures they are mailed an application ahead of every election. Because many Michiganders had never voted absentee before, the mailing from the state included instructions on how to do so. 

    The mailing went to both active and inactive registered voters. In accordance with federal law, inactive registered voters include those who have not voted recently, and those who may have moved, but have not been confirmed by their local election clerk as having moved out of their jurisdiction. By mailing the application to inactive voters, the state guaranteed equal access to voters who may have simply chosen not to vote in recent elections. It also advanced the process to clean up the Michigan voter registration list, as many applications were returned undeliverable, providing notice that the voter may have died or moved for local clerks to confirm before cancelling their registrations.  

  • Michigan's list of registered voters is maintained in accordance with federal law

    Each week, the Michigan Department of State uses information from the Social Security Death Index to cancel the records of individuals in the Qualified Voter File who have died. County clerks also share death data from county records with local clerks. Additionally, city and township clerks also cancel voter registrations when they independently confirm the death of a voter registered in their jurisdiction, for example through an obituary.

    Immediately after taking office, Secretary Benson made Michigan a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a consortium of dozens of states that share voter information to ensure registrations are cancelled when voters relocate within states.

  • More registered voters leads to stronger democracy

    When more people participate in our democracy, it better reflects the will of the people. For decades, Michigan has had one of the best motor-voter systems in the country, resulting in a great voter registration rate among eligible citizens. Voters made the system even stronger when they amended our state constitution in 2018 to require automatic voter registration. Unless they opt out, all eligible citizens are now registered when conducting a driver’s license or state identification transaction with our office. Additionally, residents who are already registered have their registration verified and updated every time they conduct such a transaction with the department. 

  • Deceased voters' ballots are not counted

    Applications sent to registered voters who have died do not result in a ballot being sent to the voter, because the dead voter cannot return the application with a signature, let alone one that matches the signature the clerk has on file with their voter registration.

    If a living voter casts an absentee ballot prior to Election Day and the clerk learns they have died before Election Day, the deceased voter’s ballot is rejected. This resulted in the rejection of thousands of ballots in Michigan’s August Primary and November General elections.

    Following the general election, lists began circulating with thousands of names of people who allegedly had votes cast in their name and were allegedly dead. However, the lists did not contain enough information to accurately compare them to the Michigan’s voter registration list. Further, when the Bureau of Elections has drawn samples of the voters’ names, and reviewed those names against the voter file, they have not encountered cases showing ballots were actually cast on behalf of deceased individuals. Rather, the confusion is often based on people having similar names, being assigned a placeholder birth year in the voter file when the birth date is not known, or a clerical error by the local clerk. A more detailed explanation is available here.

  • Security protections prevent voting in another person's name

    In Michigan, absentee ballots are not counted until a voter has twice provided signatures matching the one on file with their local election clerk – first on their application and then on their absentee ballot envelope. Hundreds of ballots were rejected because they lacked a matching signature. Similarly, upon arriving at a polling place, voters are asked to provide photo ID or sign an affidavit confirming their identity and eligibility to vote.

    Voting in another person’s name is illegal – regardless of if it is the other person’s maiden name or the person has died or moved. Charges were broughtagainst people who attempted to apply for the ballot of someone else – and those applications were rejected.

    Anyone with evidence of voter fraud should report it to law enforcement in writing so that it can be investigated and referred for prosecution.

  • Civic groups cannot access or edit the voter file

    Only the Michigan Bureau of Elections and local election clerks can log into, access, edit and modify the state’s Qualified Voter File. Civic organizations, including Rock the Vote, cannot.

    The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) worked with the nonpartisan voter education group Rock the Vote to build a secure API – application programming interface – to make it easier for eligible Michigan citizens to register to vote online. The tool, which was announced in June 2020, exists in other states, and which other organizations can use as well, allows organizations to collect voter registration applications electronically and securely submit them to Michigan’s online voter registration system. To do so, the voter must provide all information needed to register to vote online in Michigan. Organizations using the tool do not receive any type of payment from MDOS and they do not have access to voter information that is not already publicly available. A voter’s Social Security number, driver’s license information and other personal information are not publicly available and are not shared by MDOS with those making public records requests or organizations using an API.

    When voter registration applications were submitted to the online voter registration tool by a group using the API, that organization’s name is indicated only for record-keeping purposes. This does not mean the group can log into or edit that registration of the Qualified Voter File – they cannot do so. 

  • As expected, ballot counting and results reporting lasted multiple days

    While many states allowed their clerks days or weeks to prepare absentee ballots prior to Election Day – and Florida gave its clerks a month – the Michigan state Legislature voted to give our clerks just 10 hours to do very limited preparation. Because of this, and the widespread use of absentee ballots, it was announced prior to the general election that complete results would not be available on Election Night. To expedite the process as much as possible, clerks worked around the clock, bolstered by Department of State supports including the recruitment of more than 30,000 election workers and provision of federal funds for automatic envelope openers and more ballot tabulation machines.

    Many smaller jurisdictions with fewer voters began reporting all their results first on election night, as they had fewer ballots to count and may have been able to count absentee ballots at their polling places. However, many larger jurisdictions first reported only the results of in-person voting at polling places, as they continued to count absentee ballots at separate locations – absent voter counting boards – specifically for absentee ballots. When they did report their absentee ballot results in large batches (as is always done),  some wrongly assumed that they had counted all those ballots in a short amount of time, when in fact they had been counting since Election Day morning.

    Further, because President Trump had encouraged his voters to vote in person at polling places, early returns that did not include many absentee ballots showed him in the lead, and that lead diminished and was overcome as absentee ballots, which favored President-elect Biden, were counted and reported.

  • Every valid ballot was counted, and only valid ballots that arrived on time and with a matching signature were counted

    Michigan law requires ballots be received by local clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day. In the case of absentee ballots, this means that voters had to return their ballot to a clerk’s office or secure ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Any ballot that arrived thereafter, even if postmarked prior to Election Day, was not counted. Thousands of ballots were rejected for late arrival.

    All valid absentee ballots that arrived to clerk offices or drop boxes prior to the deadline, and had the voter’s signature on the envelope that matched the signature on file with their registration, were counted. Ballots marked with Sharpies were counted, and Sharpies do not cause any problem for Michigan vote-tabulation machines. 


  • As is customary, absentee ballots arrived at counting boards after 8 p.m.

    In many larger jurisdictions, absentee ballots that arrived on Election Day were marked as received and put through security checks at clerk offices prior to being brought to absent voter counting boards. If a ballot arrived at a clerk’s office at 8 p.m., it may not move through the process and be sent to the counting board for several hours. This is why, in cities including Detroit, ballots arrived at counting boards several hours after polling places had closed. 

  • Tension in Detroit's counting board did not impact vote tabulation

    Unfortunately, organizations aligned with President Trump did not seem to know that it is standard practice for absentee ballots to arrive at counting boards several hours after polls have closed. They urged supporters to go to Detroit’s counting board to challenge alleged fraud. When hundreds arrived, what had been a calm, bipartisan process before polls closed was transformed into a contentious melee. Many of the newly arrived challengers and observers had not participated in training provided by Detroit officials, and some began issuing challenges not allowed under Michigan election law or instigating conflict with election workers. This resulted in unfortunate interpersonal interactions based on a lack of trust, but did not impact the actual tabulation of votes. In fact, Michigan law requires that challenged ballots are counted as normal, but marked so that they can be retrieved if necessary. Some challengers were eventually escorted out by law enforcement. 

  • Claims of "wrongdoing" in Detroit and elsewhere in Michigan have been explained, typically as standard election procedure 

    Numerous claims of wrongdoing or “irregularities” have been made about Detroit’s election and absentee counting board. However, these have all been answered by election officials, including Chris Thomas, the former Michigan Bureau of Elections director, who oversaw state elections for decades under both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, and served as a senior advisor to the Detroit clerk’s office ahead of and during the 2020 general election. Additionally, the claims have been rejected by multiple judges in the state. Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, originally appointed by Republican Governor John Engler, found many of the claims to be “incorrect and not credible.”  More detailed explanations of specific false claims made about election administration in Detroit and elsewhere in Michigan are available below.

    • All absentee ballot envelopes that were received were stamped by clerks’ offices with the date they arrived. However, in some cases, this date was not entered into the computer tracking system. Therefore, when these ballots were encountered later, the dates that had been marked on their envelopes was entered into the computer system. In Michigan, ballots themselves are not stamped with dates, and postmarks are not recorded at all, as Michigan law does not allow ballots that arrive after 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted, regardless of postmark.
  • Claims of "wrong doing" 2
    • Absentee ballots were not scanned multiple times inappropriately in Detroit. This was only done if ballots could not be read by the tabulation machine. Had ballots been counted multiple times, the number of total ballots counted would be higher than the total number of voters who voted, but in Detroit slightly fewer ballots were counted than voters whose names were in pollbooks (due to common clerical errors, as explained below). 
    • When there are more or fewer ballots than voters in the pollbook without explanation, the precinct is deemed “out of balance.” These clerical errors are common in precincts across the state and nation. In Detroit, at least 72% of precincts were in balance or explained in the general election of 2020, compared to just 42% in the general election of 2016. It is more common for precincts to be out of balance without explanation in counties with large populations, as clerks and bipartisan boards of canvassers have far more precincts to work through but the same amount of time to do so as smaller jurisdictions. 
    • Although it can be difficult to recruit Republican challengers in Detroit – just as it is difficult to recruit Democratic challengers elsewhere in the state – there were always challengers from both parties in Detroit’s absentee ballot counting board. Further, some windows were covered to stop those outside from improperly filming the people and private information in the counting board, while other windows were left uncovered to ensure additional transparency.
    • No ballot tabulation machines were connected to the internet at Detroit’s counting board. The machines were networked locally to each other and the adjudication machines by ethernet cable, and so some people wrongly believed they were online. They were not.
  • Claims of "wrong doing" 3
    • By telling voters that they could vote straight ticket, Detroit election workers reminded voters of a convenience offered to Michigan voters. Workers should not suggest what party to vote straight ticket for, but can assist voters even if the voters have voluntarily told the workers who they want to vote for. In 2016, nearly 97% of Detroiters who voted cast ballots for Hillary Clinton. In 2020, 95% voted for President-elect Biden.
    • The Wayne County Statement of Votes Report included zeroes in the registered voters column at the end of the report because those registered voters were already counted earlier in the report under each Detroit precinct. However, their votes were not. This is because, in accordance with Michigan election law, the City of Detroit reports absentee ballots by combined Absent Voter Counting Board (AVCB) instead of by precinct. Therefore, by entering zeroes in the AVCB rows, the county prevents double counting the number of registered voters in Detroit.
    • Michigan law does not require citizens to show photo identification to vote. If they don’t have ID they have the option to sign an affidavit stating they are not in possession of photo ID, and can then be given a ballot to vote. Michigan law states that the ballots provided to voters who sign such an affidavit are not provisional ballots and shall be counted like all other ballots.
    • When a voter is eligible to have their ballot counted but the voter’s name does not appear on the voter list (for example, if a voter returned their absent voter ballot after the absent voter ballot list in the pollbook was generated), the voter’s name is added to a supplemental list of voters in the pollbook. In some cases, election workers add a placeholder birthdate such as 1/1/1900 if the voter’s birthdate (which is not needed to count the ballot on Election Day) is not known. Some who viewed this process wrongly believed voters were being registered to vote with fake birth dates. This is not correct – the voters were not being registered (they were already registered), and the voter’s actual birthdate is known and kept by the election clerk in the voter file. 
    • While Michigan law bars election workers and voters from wearing clothing or accessories that express support for a specific candidate or party in the election being conducted, the law allows them to wear items that show support for other groups and causes, and former candidates or officials no longer running for office, such as, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan.
    • If ballots are filled out in a way that tabulators cannot read them, state law requires that bipartisan teams adjudicate them to determine voter intent.
    • Voter turnout in Michigan increased by 8.7 percent in the general election of 2020 compared to 2016. All states saw turnout increase and 13 states had larger increases than Michigan. Statewide, 68% of registered voters cast ballots. In Detroit 51% of those registered voted.
  • Bipartisan boards of canvassers certified Michigan's election

    The bipartisan boards of county canvassers in all of Michigan’s 83 counties, as well as the bipartisan board of state canvassers, certified the results of the general election. Each board is comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats. Michigan law provides the county canvassers 14 days to examine everything that transpired in the elections in jurisdictions in their counties, and then certify the results and election. The state board of canvassers subsequently must vote to certify all the county elections. If canvassers were to encounter any evidence of fraud, they would need to report it to law enforcement. No canvassers reported any fraud or other illegal activity occurred.

    The Board of Wayne County Canvassers initially deadlocked 2-2 in its Nov. 17 vote to certify, but later in the same meeting, members voted 4-0 to certify. The initial vote was taken after some canvassers expressed concern about precincts that were out of balance in Detroit. However, out-of-balance precincts are common in Michigan and across the nation. They essentially represent clerical errors where the number of people who were checked into each poll book doesn’t exactly match the number of votes counted or ballots submitted. There are many reasons this can occur: for example, a voter being checked in at the right polling place but the wrong precinct, or a voter checking in but leaving with their ballot if the line was long. In fact, at least 72% of all Detroit precincts were balanced or explained, compared to just 42% in 2016, when both the boards of county and state canvassers certified the election. In 2020 the Wayne County canvassers passed a resolution seeking an election audit. However, the body does not have the authority to order audits, Michigan law does not allow audits prior to certification, and the Michigan Bureau of Elections had already planned and announced numerous post-certification audits. In fact, Secretary Benson would subsequently announce  that the Bureau and election clerks would conduct more post-election audits than ever before in state history

  • All election data has been preserved in accordance with state law

    All election materials, including ballots and tallies – which are always on paper in Michigan – and countless other materials, have been preserved to allow subsequent reference and investigation. The Bureau of Elections sent a memo to clerks following certification of the election reminding them, among other things, to delete voter information from e-pollbooks to protect voter privacy, as the e-pollbooks (which are laptop computers) will not be used until a subsequent election and the electronic copy of the information is not needed. This is the same memo that has been sent to clerks for years. Before data is deleted, clerks have already printed a copy from each e-pollbook as a securely stored record. 

  • Dominion machines in Antrim County counted votes for president accurately
    Antrim County initially reported incorrect unofficial results because the clerk had updated the software on some but not all of the county’s Dominion vote counting machines. This was a user error, and not a flaw in the technology. (A more detailed explanation of the error is available here.) Because Michigan uses all paper ballots and prints paper tallies, such reporting errors are always caught and corrected in the county canvass, if not before, as was the case in Antrim. 
    Following a national, partisan effort to suggest the error in Antrim was part of a larger conspiracy, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced a hand-tally audit of all the votes cast for president in Antrim County, to confirm what was already known to be true – that the Dominion machines had counted correctly and the certified election results were accurate – and to bolster voters’ faith in the election. In fact, a statewide pilot risk-limiting audit conducted after the March 10, 2020 presidential primary election had demonstrated that Michigan’s vote-counting machines were accurate across the state.
    Shortly before the Antrim County audit, a partisan group with no experience in election administration or election technology, and a history of making incorrect claims, wrote a report that falsely and without evidence claimed the Dominion machines had acted improperly. This was thoroughly debunked by Dominion  and the statement of an actual election expert submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. 
    A bipartisan group of election officials then conducted the hand-tally audit of every ballot cast for president which also confirmed the accuracy of the previously certified machine-tabulated results. The audit was conducted by bipartisan election officials, with law enforcement and independent media present. It was also livestreamed for the public to view. 
    Following the audit, the attorney for the same partisan group that had released the false report released videos of the audit. By omitting explanation provided by election officials, the videos wrongly suggested the audit had been conducted improperly. In fact, officials explained that: 
  • Dominion machines in Antrim County counted votes for president accurately 2
    • Signatures do not appear on absentee ballots. 
    • It is common for write-in candidates to appear in the same handwriting if the same election worker carries out the required act of duplicating the ballots of voters who are military/overseas/disabled (which are initially provided in a format that cannot be machine tabulated). 
    • In accordance with the law, all materials from the election would be securely stored for 22 months should further investigation be necessary. 
    • Anyone who found evidence of fraud or any criminal activity should report it to the local law enforcement officials on site. 
    Following these explanations, no one expressed concern with the audit or made any reports of wrongdoing to law enforcement, including the attorney for the partisan group.
    In all, 65 Michigan counties used Dominion machines in the 2020 general election. Ninety percent of them – 59 out of 65 – were won by President Trump.
  • Post-election audits are ongoing

    State and local election officials have conducted dozens of post-election audits of the 2020 general election, all of which have demonstrated the integrity of the election. In all, more than 200 audits will be carried out – more than ever before in state history – to affirm voters’ faith in the election and identify areas for improvement of future election administration. More detailed information about Michigan’s post-election audits is available here

  • Election misinformation is harmful to democracy

    Following the 2020 general election many false claims were made to reduce public confidence in Michigan’s and the national election. None of the claims were found to have merit, and none of the lawsuits based on the claims, brought before dozens of state and federal judges and justices, were successful. Such false claims dishonor the millions of citizens who cast ballots, damage our democracy, and put lives at risk, as was demonstrated in the deadly attack on the United State Capitol on January 6, 2021. 

    However, our democracy is strong and resilient. Leaders can work together, across the aisle, to heal the damage that has been done, by unequivocally stating the truth to their colleagues and constituents – that the 2020 election was secure and fair, and the results are an accurate reflection of the will of the voters.


Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
February 12, 2021

Statewide election audit process affirms presidential election outcome

Demonstrates excellence of local election officials, accuracy of vote-counting machines

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced today that a statewide election audit process affirmed Michigan’s vote-counting machines are accurate and Joe Biden won the state’s Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election.

“This statewide audit process affirms what election officials on both sides of the aisle have said since November – that Michigan’s election was conducted securely and fairly, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters. I congratulate our election clerks for carrying out the most successful election in our state’s history, and thank them for affirming the integrity of our elections by participating in this process,” said Benson. “The work of elected leaders now is to tell voters the truth and move forward with nonpartisan election policy to advance the will of Michigan voters, who have demonstrated clearly and unequivocally that they want our elections to continue to be secure, strong and accessible.”

Hundreds of Republican, Democratic and nonpartisan municipal and county clerks from more than 1,300 local jurisdictions – more than had ever participated in such an audit anywhere – took part in Michigan’s statewide auditing exercise, hand counting more than 18,000 ballots that were randomly selected throughout the state.

In the hand count, President Biden received more votes than former president Donald Trump, and the percentage of votes for each candidate was within fractions of a percentage point of machine-tabulated totals. In the state’s three largest counties, each of which uses a different voting machine vendor, the audit results were also all within one percentage point of the November results. Although a random sample of 18,000 ballots would not be expected to exactly match the percentages of votes cast for candidates out of all 5.5 million ballots, the closeness in percentages between the hand-reviewed ballots and the machine-tabulated totals provides strong additional evidence of the accuracy of the machine count.

In the statewide sample, Biden received votes on 50 percent of all ballots reviewed while Trump received 48 percent. In Wayne County, which uses Dominion machines, Biden received 68 percent, while Trump received 31 percent. In Oakland County, which uses Hart machines, Biden received 57 percent while Trump received 41 percent, and in Macomb County, which uses ES&S machines, Biden received 44 percent and Trump received 54 percent.

The audit exercise was conducted by generating a statewide manifest that included the number of ballots cast in every jurisdiction, and then using a randomly generated (by rolling 10-sided dice) 20-digit number to select 18,162 of them. Clerks then retrieved ballots that had been selected in their jurisdictions and shared if it had a vote for president and, if so, who it was for. Clerks retrieved a total of 18,084 ballots total. Twenty-one clerks did not retrieve 78 ballots in their jurisdictions, meaning the sample was 78 ballots short of a complete sample. For this reason, the audit is being considered a pilot exercise.

Secretary Benson’s Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy legislative agenda would require a statewide risk-limiting audit to be carried out prior to state certification of the election – which would both speed and simplify the process, as clerks would be able to retrieve the randomly selected ballots while the election canvass in ongoing. Current law does not allow such audits to take place until after certification. Candidates can request hand recounts of all ballots prior to certification, but neither presidential candidate chose to do so in 2020.

The Bureau of Elections is compiling a full report of the results, which will be published upon completion. Risk-limiting audits are considered the gold standard of post-election audits and provide an extra layer of security when partnered with the traditional audit methods already utilized by election officials. The Bureau of Elections and local clerks across the state began piloting the audits in 2018 and 2019, and also conducted a pilot of the 2020 presidential primary. The process was conducted with the assistance of VotingWorks, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It also drew upon the advice of the Election Security Advisory Commission and an audit task force composed of election clerks.

For media questions, contact
Aneta Kiersnowski


Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
March 2, 2021

More than 250 audits confirm accuracy and integrity of Michigan's election

Audit finds workers counted ballots accurately, state Legislature needs to allow more time for pre-processing, canvass

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced that all of the state’s more than 250 election audits are complete, and every one of them confirmed the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 general election. The audit process drew tremendous support and complete transparency from county, city and township clerks. In all, more than 1,300 Republican, Democrat and nonpartisan clerks, as well as the state Bureau of Elections, participated in at least one audit.

“Over the last several months, the state Bureau of Elections has worked with local clerks to conduct more audits than ever before in our state’s history, and each has reaffirmed the accuracy, security and integrity of the November 2020 election,” said Benson. “We’ve responded to every question and claim and the evidence is clear. It is time for leaders across the political spectrum to tell their constituents the truth, that our election was the most secure in history, and the results accurately reflect the will of Michigan’s voters.”

In addition to the hundreds of audits of local election precincts – the majority of which were conducted by county clerks of both parties – officials also audited every ballot cast for president in Antrim County and found that the Dominion machines used there accurately counted ballots throughout the county. Officials also conducted a statewide audit exercise, by hand-counting votes cast for president on more than 18,000 ballots randomly selected across the state, which affirmed the outcome of the presidential election as previously determined by tabulation machines.

An audit of Detroit’s absentee ballot counting board, which has been attacked repeatedly with lies, baseless conspiracy theories and the misleading claims of people lacking knowledge of election procedure, found that while clerical errors had occurred, election workers supervised by the clerk’s office properly counted 174,000 valid ballots that corresponded to signed envelopes that were submitted by registered voters and reviewed by the clerk’s office.

Further, auditors found that 83 percent of the counting boards were balanced or explained, up from 27 percent at the close of the county canvass. This means that in each of those boards the number of ballots matched the number of names in the poll book, or that the imbalance could be explained in such a way that the counting board would be recountable. Auditors also found that the net number of ballots out of balance for the entire board was just 17 out of the 174,000 absentee ballots counted in Detroit.

Auditors made similar findings in audits of other cities’ absentee ballot counting boards, including:

  • In Grand Rapids, 87 percent were balanced or explained, compared to 62 percent at the end of the canvass. The final net number of ballots out of balance was eight.
  • In Livonia, 77 percent were balanced or explained, compared to 34 percent at the end of the canvass. The final net number of ballots out of balance was one.
  • In Sterling Heights, 71 percent were balanced or explained, compared to 58 percent at the end of the canvass. The final net number of ballots out of balance was four.

Further, the Sterling Heights audit was the first absentee ballot counting board ever audited in the state. Valuable lessons were learned throughout the counting board audit process, and it is expected that auditors would have balanced or explained more boards at Sterling Heights if that audit was conducted later in the process. The Bureau of Elections is drafting a final report on audit findings, which will be made available publicly.

Out-of-balance precincts are common across the state and nation, and essentially represent clerical errors where an election official failed to note that a voter at the polls checked in and then left with their ballot in hand, or a couple mailed their two absentee ballots in one envelope. Such errors are often corrected or explained in the county canvass, but time constraints make that more difficult, especially in high-population jurisdictions. This was demonstrated by all four audits of absentee voter counting boards, where auditors were able to balance or explain numerous boards that cities were not able to resolve in the short window of time available after closing of the counting boards, and which county canvassers could not reconcile in the less than two weeks available for the county canvass.

“If state lawmakers truly want to affirm faith in our elections, they will provide more time to election officials to process absentee ballots before Election Day, and canvass them afterwards, just as I’ve proposed in my legislative agenda to advance the vote and protect democracy,” said Benson. “Had they done this prior to November, after clerks and I asked them to for more than a year, they could have pre-emptively debunked many of the lies that have since attacked our democracy.”

Secretary Benson announced her legislative agenda for elections – Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy – last month. In addition to calling for two weeks for election officials to process ballots before Election Day, and an additional week to canvass afterwards, she proposed changing the law that prevents precincts that are out of balance without explanation from being recounted. Michigan is one of the only states in the country with such a restriction in place.

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For media questions, contact
Aneta Kiersnowski


Michigan Republican Party
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Judge: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Violated Election Law in Early October

It was clear from the outset that Secretary of State Benson had violated Election Laws

LANSING, MICH—The Michigan Republican Party won a decisive victory in Court this week after Judge Christopher Murray ruled that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's guidance issued to Michigan clerks in early October to assume the accuracy of absentee ballot signatures violated Election Law.

The decision was a victory for not just the Michigan Republican Party, who is advocating for common sense election reform that protects the vote of every eligible American citizen, but a victory for every Michigan voter. Critical to a Democracy is a safe and secure election process.

"It was clear from the outset that the Secretary of State had violated Election Law by unilaterally directing local clerks to ignore their statutory obligation to compare absentee ballot signatures," said Ted Goodman, Communications Director of the Michigan Republican Party. "Rather than follow the statute’s safeguards which require clerks to verify absentee ballot signatures against the state’s database, the Secretary of State directed clerks to instead assume that every signature on an absentee ballot was valid without checking them against that database."

The Michigan Republican Party is pleased that the Court agreed that the Court agreed that the Secretary of State cannot direct local clerks to ignore the Michigan Election Law, but also disappointed that clerks were told not to truly verify absentee ballot signatures for the 2020 election.

MRP is calling on the Secretary of State to undertake a statistical sampling of absentee ballots to determine the impact of the Secretary of State’s unlawful guidance.

Send all media inquiries to Ted Goodman, communications director

State of Michigan Court of Claims Opinion and Order

Michigan Senate Oversight Committee
Senator Ed McBroom
June 23, 2021

Senate Oversight Committee releases report on November 2020 General Election

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ed McBroom, chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee, on Wednesday announced the publication of the panel’s report on the November 2020 General Election in Michigan.

“As chair of the Senate Oversight Committee, I made it clear from the start that the investigation into the November 2020 General Election would be taken with a firm commitment to truth and a goal of reassuring the citizens of this state that their votes counted,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “People are, understandably, confused by recent changes to election laws, as well as by practices, orders and determinations made by state and local governments in response to the pandemic. They are right to demand answers and deserve nothing less than the truth amidst so much shouting and misrepresentation from both sides of the political spectrum.

“This investigation was lengthy, thorough, and revealing. We found both real vulnerabilities and resiliency within the state’s elections system. We also discovered the extent to which our elections officials go to facilitate them. The committee’s report goes into considerable detail on many of these issues, and I hope the public is reassured by the security and protections already in place, motivated to support necessary reforms to make it better, and grateful for our fellow citizens who do the hard work of conducting our elections.

“After innumerable hours over many months, watching, listening, and reading both in-person testimony and various other accounts, I am confident in asserting that the results of the November 2020 General Election in Michigan were accurately represented by the certified and audited results. However, if genuine issues arise from continued investigation, I will not hesitate to ask the committee to consider recommending an audit or amending this report in the future.

“I sincerely thank all who participated in this process — especially the concerned voters who want nothing but the best for our state and its people. An active and passionate citizenry is critical to maintaining our republic and the public’s participation has been reassuring that our system of government is alive and well in our state.”

The committee began its investigation into allegations of fraud and security failures just days after the November 2020 General Election. To date, the committee has:

  • Conducted nearly 30 hours of public hearings;
  • Heard from 87 eyewitnesses, experts and concerned citizens, many under oath;
  • Reviewed over 400 pages of testimony; and
  • Subpoenaed key documents from the secretary of state and cities of Detroit and Livonia.
Every major concern about the election was closely investigated, including compromised voting tabulators, incidents at the TCF Center in Detroit, misreporting of results from Antrim County, deceased people voting, and many more.

Vulnerabilities identified through the committee’s work are addressed in many of the 39 bills included in the election reform package that seeks to ensure the integrity of Michigan elections for generations to come.

The Senate Oversight Committee report on the November 2020 General Election may be read in its entirety at