In late January, Michigan’s Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, announced that the state is set to remove 177,000 voters from the rolls in March. The delay will give citizens there the time to prevent the cancellation of their registration if they find they are on the removal list erroneously. Benson says that the state continues to “demonstrate the integrity, transparency and accuracy of Michigan elections” with its post-election audits that help keep voter rolls clean.

Benson is planning a major overhaul of her state’s elections, including the mailing of absentee ballots to every registered voter every election and solidifying early voting and extending the time to count ballots.

According to the Detroit News, “roughly 500,000 absentee ballot applications were returned between May and August for reasons that included the individuals had since died or moved.” Benson mailed out around 7.7 million applications to vote by mail in May to “qualified voters.” Benson said she had to wait until after the election because federal law prevents list maintenance 90 days before an election. “Former Secretary of State Johnson on Wednesday estimated there likely were another 300,000 absentee ballot applications sent to people who are dead or moved that were not returned to the Bureau of Elections,” as reported by the Detroit News.

Benson’s statement reads that “Michigan’s 2020 elections were the most secure, successful and accessible in state history. More than 5.5 million citizens voted and over 1,600 election clerks on both sides of the aisle worked tirelessly to ensure all valid ballots were counted efficiently and accurately.” Benson continued, “Since November, my administration has continued to work with election officials across our state to review and strengthen all our election processes and protocols, in preparation for 2021’s local elections.” However, Jason Snead, Executive Director of the Honest Elections Project (HEP), disagrees.

According to Snead, Benson had been warned about dirty voter rolls, something she has repeatedly denied. In fact, Michigan resident Tony Daunt and Republican member of the Board of Canvassers filed a lawsuit in June of 2020 against the state under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The lawsuit sought to “compel Benson to comply with the NVRA’s list maintenance mandates.”  The lawsuit said that Michigan failed to comply in 16 of its counties. And “for an additional 15 counties, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Livingston, Mackinac, Oakland, Otsego, Roscommon, and Washtenaw—have voter registration rates that exceed 90 percent of adult citizens over the age of 18. That figure far eclipses the national and statewide voter registration rate in recent elections.” It wasn’t until the lawsuit was filed that Benson decided to comply. Snead’s Feb. 3 statement reads as follows:

“This is a sharp reversal. For seven months, Secretary Benson has insisted to the court and to the public that Michigan’s voter rolls were being properly maintained. Now she admits they were not. Per her own press release, Michigan lacks ‘sufficient, comprehensive efforts’ to keep the voter rolls clean. For two years, Secretary Benson has had the responsibility to keep Michigan’s voter rolls clean. If there were longstanding problems, she should have taken steps to correct them long before today, three months after a national election. HEP will continue to ensure that Michigan’s officials are conducting the active and ongoing list maintenance that federal law requires and that voters deserve.”

Daunt said that it is a shame that “it took a federal lawsuit to force Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to comply with election law. Election integrity matters, and those who threaten it must be held accountable, regardless of party affiliation or status. I’m grateful that our hard work has forced Benson to finally comply with election law.” On Tuesday, he agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.

Republican Antrim County is the location where citizen William Bailey and his lawyer  Matthew DePerno of DePerno Law Offices, LLC filed a complaint in November because he became suspicious when a review of the votes there “turned up 6,000 votes that had been incorrectly attributed to candidate Joe Biden,” as reported by UncoverDC on Dec. 7. A series of articles written by UncoverDC has followed the case from the initial lawsuit through a subsequent order by Judge Elsenheimer access to the Dominion Voting System machines to perform a forensic audit and then reporting on the results of the audit itself. The forensic audit claimed to prove that votes were manipulated. Benson has written the irregularities off, saying it was “human error.” To date, the lawsuit is the only one related to the 2020 election fraud to reach the evidentiary stage.

On Jan. 4, Benson was ordered to release any and all communications with Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon, and herself. According to Mlive, “Elsenheimer’s written order was filed on Friday, Jan. 29, with a Feb. 2 deadline for the records to be turned over; however, the judge has since issued an extension allowing the SOS until Feb. 8 to submit the documents.” 

The filing by DePerno alleges that SoS Benson “has refused to produce any information regarding money spent by the state of Michigan or money spent on ballot drop-boxes (i.e., Zucker-boxes).” He also says that Benson “had funds available to her to spend on training counties on how to use Dominion Voting System…It is plaintiff’s understanding that (Benson) chose to spend zero dollars on training…instead, she spent money and resources installing so-called Zucker-boxes throughout Michigan, including Wayne County, Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, and Saginaw, in conjunction with Facebook, Dominion, Center for Tech and Civic Life, Google, Amazon, and Apple.” As of February 8, Benson had not complied, as reported by NEWS TALK station wbckfm.

DePerno has fought to keep confidential the names of the team of experts who performed the audit; however, according to a Jan. 29 Record-Eagle report, the full list will be revealed in court proceedings. Benson has also successfully filed a motion to intervene and has been added as a named defendant in the case. Attorney Haider Kazim, who represents Antrim County in the case, said that depositions are not likely to be taken for months. Judge Elsenheimer’s scheduling order “gives attorneys until April 8 to complete discovery, with a settlement conference scheduled May 11 and, if necessary, a non-jury trial scheduled June 8.”

According to the final capstone election integrity report written by Dr. Peter Navarro and reported by UncoverDC on Jan. 15, Joe Biden’s “victory margin” in Michigan was 154,818 votes. However, his investigation found that there were 446,803 possible illegal votes—a number that well exceeds the 177,000 votes Benson just agreed to remove from the rolls. Even with the removal of those “voters,” Donald Trump would have still won Michigan by over 100,000 votes.

Figure Four/The Navarro Report/Dr. Peter Navarro