Benson rejects baseless claims after electronic poll book error
Election officials across the state reported a smooth Election Day yesterday, saying it's possible Michigan sees a historic midterm turnout.
Driving the news: There were no major issues to report, the state said yesterday.
- But that didn't stop Republican SOS nominee Kristina Karamo and former President Trump from accusations of voter fraud based on a morning e-poll book issue that was quickly resolved.
What happened: Electronic poll books across several precincts in Detroit flagged duplicate ballot numbers — used to track connection to a voter up until they cast their ballot — that indicated a voter had already been issued an absentee ballot.
- Some electronic books displayed an error message stating that the number on the ballot at the polling place was the same as an absentee ballot that had already been issued, even though the voter had not actually voted absentee.
- Election workers resolved the issue by entering an extra digit in the ballot number in order to make sure registered voters could vote.
- Voters who cast ballots at precincts being affected by the error reported longer waits with election workers having to look them up on paper instead of the e-poll book, but it didn't impact a voter's ability to vote in any way, Michigan Department of State spokesperson Jake Rollow told reporters.
What they're saying: Officials say the issue turned out to be a harmless data error.
- "Essentially, bad actors or folks with bad intentions will exploit these traditionally mundane and harmless issues, to try to spread misinformation, raise money, gain celebrity, make news, deter voting, delegitimize democracy," Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told reporters.
- Trump's claim that the issue is happening "in large numbers” was incorrect, according to Benson, who said the issue happened in a handful of precincts. Karamo also used the error to levy accusations of voter fraud.
By the numbers: Michigan has 8,215,740 registered voters. Of those, 7,281,373 are considered active voters (a ballot cast within the last six years).
- Since January 2022, 297,754 voters have registered for the first time.
- There were 14,000 same-day registrations yesterday across Michigan, mostly in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, where students stood in line for hours to cast ballots.
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