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Rep. Calley’s plan to clean up voter rolls heads to governor
RELEASE|March 17, 2022
Contact: Julie Calley

The Michigan Senate today approved Rep. Julie Calley’s plan to remove dead and ineligible voters from the state’s qualified voter file, advancing it to the governor for consideration.

A recent audit by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General (OAG) revealed discrepancies created by inaccurate addresses and deaths that must be corrected to ensure the qualified voter file is accurate. The same concerns were flagged in a 2019 performance audit, but the Secretary of State’s Office failed to take action to correct the problem – a concerning situation that Calley said highlights the importance of her legislation.

“Leaving the names of dead and ineligible voters in our qualified voter file invites fraud and malfeasance,” said Calley, of Portland. “It’s clear that we need to put a procedure in place to make sure our voter rolls are accurate and up to date.”

The legislation Calley helped sponsor will update or remove records in the qualified voter file if an individual hasn’t voted since the November 2000 election or if the individual has a placeholder date of birth.

Under House Bills 4127 and 4128, the Secretary of State would first send a notice asking the elector to provide a corrected address or date of birth, including a warning that his or her registration may be cancelled if the information is not provided. The card must be returned with a postmark of 15 days before the next election. If the voter does not return the card and does not engage in any voter activity in the following two general elections, the registration will be cancelled.

The legislation approved by the Senate today is part of a larger effort to fix several problems uncovered in the Auditor General’s reports. Additional concerns include:

  • The OAG identified 41 cases where voters who had a ballot counted during the elections in May 2019 or November 2020 died more than 40 days before the election. House Bill 4491 empowers county clerks to remove deceased individuals from the state’s qualified voter file after they receive and record a death certificate. It currently awaits further consideration in the Senate after receiving unanimous approval in the House.
  • More than half of the county clerks and other selected county election officials were not sufficiently trained to conduct post-election audits, a statutory duty of the Secretary of State. Required post-election audit training was not completed by 52 percent of county clerks, and 59 percent of other county election officials had not viewed relevant post-election audit training webinars or videos. House Bill 4129 creates accountability for county and local clerks who do not complete required training by requiring the Secretary of State to post names of local clerks who have not completed the required courses. The legislation, co-sponsored by Calley, received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. It also awaits further consideration in the Senate.

“The Auditor General – an independent, nonpartisan office – identified some very real concerns in our election procedures that need to be addressed,” Calley said. “I’m committed to finding solutions that protect the integrity of our elections while continuing to ensure all eligible voters can vote freely and securely.”

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