CBS Detroit – An Indiana public interest group named the Public Interest Legal Foundation has dropped a lawsuit it filed in federal court last December. The suit alleged that Detroit had duplicate and dead voter registrations. In an article by The Detroit News, the organization dropped its suit citing “Defendants have taken action on the list of likely deceased registrants provided by the plaintiff,” in a court motion on Monday to dismiss the suit .Further saying the duplicate registrations that were brought forth were corrected.
The actions were taken care of by Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and Elections Director George Azzouz. According to The Detroit News, Winfrey said updating the voter polls were part of regular ongoing maintenance but had her office look into specific claims from the lawsuit, one of those claims had a registered voter born in 1823 on the Detroit polls. Winfrey said that extra digging was required, as it was ridiculous and wanted to see what was going on. In the end, she said, “The conclusion was that that was a typographical error.”
The lawsuit by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an Indiana non-profit, said the City of Detroit was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act, by keeping dead and duplicate voters on the polls. The group had been working on the issue for two years, claiming the errors they brought forth were “brushed aside”.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation found:
- Detroit had a 106% voter registration rate
- 2,503 deceased registrants
- 4,788 duplicate or triplicate registrants
- 16,465 registrants had their date of registration missing from city records
Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams said to the Detroit News, “The city of Detroit could have started to fix these problems before litigation, but didn’t. Other jurisdictions should take note — if you don’t act on solid data that your voter rolls are corrupted with dead and duplicate registrations, you will be sued.”
Winfrey said that the organization didn’t understand what they do, saying voter records are purged by death records received from the county every month, records received from the Social Security Office, and mailings that come back undeliverable.
This suit comes on the heels as Republicans have raised concerns over absentee ballot applications sent to deceased or people who moved in a mass mailing by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. U.S. Representative Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) said that his staff received a complaint that in one household, two people were sent 9 ballot applications. He has received similar complaints from others in his district.
In 2016 it was reported that in a recount more than half of Detroit was ineligible because of voter irregularities. State officials examined 20 Detroit precincts where ballot boxes opened during the recount had fewer ballots than what poll workers recorded on election day. Republican Senators at the time asked for an investigation after a Detroit ballot box contained 50 out of the recorded 306 ballots.
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