FILE - Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Detroit’s voter rolls are being subject to public and legal scrutiny after it was revealed the city counts 2,503 deceased individuals among those currently eligible to vote.

The revelations have prompted a lawsuit by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a national group dedicated to identifying potential voting fraud. The lawsuit does not allege actual voting fraud.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, the Motor City voting population not only includes the names of dead people, it also includes 4,788 voters who are registered twice and sometimes three times as well as 16,466 voters missing actual dates of registration.

Additionally, the city lists 511,786 registered voters despite only 479,267 adults actually eligible to vote. “That means it has more registered voters than citizens of voting age,” according to the Free Press. The newspaper also revealed one registered voter was born in 1823, 14 years before Michigan attained statehood.

Although the lawsuit has garnered statewide headlines, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson indicated at a Thursday morning news conference that she was unaware of the voter registration improprieties. Benson’s office is charged with overseeing elections as the state’s leading election officer. She campaigned on ensuring clean elections.

A portion of the news conference appeared Thursday afternoon on YouTube. At the beginning of the clip, Benson nods her head and says "mmhmm" when asked about the lawsuit. 

"I haven't seen this particular suit but we can look into that and get back to you," Benson says at the 47-second mark.

"Secretary of State Benson's lack of oversight on voter registration in Detroit is very concerning," Tori Sachs, executive director of Michigan Rising Action, told The Center Square. "Michigan is a battle-ground state for combating radical liberal policies and now we must also ensure our Secretary of State holds to account the integrity of our voting system." 

 “The integrity and security of our elections is of the utmost importance and we commend the Public Interest Legal Foundation for drawing attention to this serious, and inexcusable, lack of concern with these matters by City of Detroit officials,” Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, said in an email to The Center Square.

“As the chief elections official in our state – and someone who campaigned on the importance of secure and fair elections – Jocelyn Benson should be deeply troubled by this indifference to election laws and immediately launch a thorough, transparent and independent investigation.” 

Regional Editor

Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.