Nov 8, 2022 - News

Federal officials to monitor election activity across Michigan

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are monitoring election procedures in several Michigan cities today, including Detroit.

Why it matters: Intimidating voters is a federal crime, and the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan have stated that they will address any harassment or threats related to this election.

  • Voter advocacy groups are hoping to make sure voters won't be intimidated or afraid to show up to their polling place.

What they're saying: "What's happening is part of a well-maintained system to destabilize and mute Black and brown voices here in Detroit," Detroit Action executive director Branden Snyder told reporters Monday.

  • "Already, far-right extremists are using their own confusion about voting to try to sow disinformation about the process," Snyder said.

Of note: Those who need to report a problem should call or text 866-OUR-VOTE or 1-800-253-3921 to contact the DOJ Civil Rights Division, which is taking public complaints throughout the day.

Catch up quick: In 2020, the effort backed by former President Trump to stop counting absentee ballots was focused on Detroit's absentee counting board inside the Huntington Place center.

Meanwhile, a Wayne County judge rejected GOP SOS candidate Kristina Karamo's lawsuit over absentee ballots in Detroit, which sought to invalidate mail-in voting in Detroit, by writing in the opinion that plaintiffs allegations failed "to produce any shred of evidence."

Between the lines: Attorneys in Karamo's lawsuit said the city is being solely targeted for its "national reputation for having issues and problems in election integrity."

  • While those skeptical of the process say the city's 70% out-of-balance precincts in 2020 was an "invitation to fraud," election officials say nonbalanced precincts are actually a sign of good-faith clerical errors, not voter fraud.
  • A precinct is "unbalanced" when the number of total ballots cast does not equal the number of voters recorded in that precinct's poll book, making them ineligible to be recounted.

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