An expansion of mail-in voting and a history of inner city irregularities has Michigan accelerating towards conflict.
Election Integrity Grade
Jocelyn Benson (D)
Elected - In Office Since 2019
Budget Allocation For Elections: $7,586,800
Per Capita Investment In Elections: $0.76
In Michigan, elections are overseen by the Secretary of State, a directly elected state officer who serves a four-year term. The current Secretary of State is Democrat Jocelyn Benson; Benson defeated Mary Treder Lang (R) in 2018 and is in her first term in office. Benson will be up for re-election in 2022.
Michigan's election system has been in Donald Trump's crosshairs throughout the summer, with Secretary Benson often the target of his unfounded claims (for example, the lie that ballots were mailed to all Michigan voters).
The margin of victory in Michigan in 2016 was just over 11,000 votes, so it is no surprise that the state is fighting partisan lawsuits designed to create confusion and chaos leading up to November 3.
Statements on Voter Fraud
Support for Vote By Mail
Secretary Benson and her staff have been quick to refute the cynical claims of voter fraud coming from the White House. In May, a public statement pulled no punches: "President Donald Trump's statement is false." (A)
Michigan has not yet publicized a specific plan to use CARES Act funds on COVID-19 preparedness purchases like PPE for election workers and other supplies necessary for a safe and clean voting environment. (C)
Secretary Benson proactively sent absentee ballot applications to all of Michigan's registered voters in May. The state has also invested $5.5 million in its mail-in voting infrastructure to cover the cost of postage and 700 drop boxes. (A-)
Michigan adheres to some minimum cybersecurity best practices, but it just hired the state's first election security director within the last year. The post-election audit process does not do enough to confirm results in a statistically significant way. (C)
When Governor Gretchen Whitmer enacted state-wide closures to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, armed protestors stormed the state house and issued death threats. There is reason to be concerned about post-election divisions. (C)
In the 2016 election, Michigan experienced voting irregularities when 87 of its optical scan machines broke down on Election Day - 80 of them in heavily Democratic sections of Detroit. Human error was widely cited as the cause. (C-)
KEY PUBLIC STATEMENTS
MI State Dept. Spokesperson
There is no '11th hour attempt' to change Michigan election law - Michigan voters did that themselves when they overwhelmingly voted to allow for no-reason absentee voting in November 2018.
Secretary of State
No matter how you choose to vote next week and in November, know that our elections are secure, you will be safe, and your ballot will be counted.
Detroit City Clerk
Whenever you put out information that is not proven, it’s a form of voter suppression. And when you put fear into people, they have a tendency to not vote. So those are fear tactics.