Michigan Republican lawmakers and the top of the state Republican Occasion are elevating issues about a normal elections-related memo Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson not too long ago despatched to native clerks.
Rep. Matt Corridor, R-Emmett Township, Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and MIGOP Chairwoman Laura Cox all issued information releases Friday about a memo despatched earlier this week Benson’s workplace to native clerks. A part of the memo tells clerks to delete digital ballot e book software program and related information “until a petition for recount has been filed and the recount has not been accomplished, a post-election audit is deliberate however has not but been accomplished, or the deletion of the info has been stayed an order of the court docket or the Secretary of State.”
Data present it’s customary process after an election in Michigan — a request despatched for years to clerks below Republican and Democratic secretaries that is meant to maintain voter information safe. In his launch although, Corridor referred to as it “regarding,” whereas Cox requested, “What are the Democrats hiding?”
Jake Rollow, a spokesman for Benson, mentioned, the state has not deleted any of the digital ballot e book software program or information in its possession associated to the November election and reiterated its request to clerks about deleting comparable data is customary.
“For years it has despatched the identical post-election memo to all clerks reminding them to take away voters’ private data from their machines so as to shield the private figuring out data of voters,” Rollow mentioned.
“It is a essential information safety measure. Importantly, ballot e book information usually are not misplaced on this course of as a result of previous to deleting any information, all information within the e-pollbooks are printed and arduous copies are retained.”
Cox, Michigan Republicans and different supporters of President Donald Trump have repeatedly questioned the integrity of the November election and its final result within the state. Earlier this week, Corridor and McBroom held separate oversight hearings the place Trump legal professional Rudy Giuliani and different Trump supporters spent hours spreading inaccurate and deceptive details about election operations.
Nobody has offered credible proof of widespread election fraud in Michigan. President-elect Joe Biden gained the state roughly 154,000 votes.
Corridor and McBroom despatched a letter Friday to Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater and Detroit Metropolis Clerk Janice Winfrey asking them to make clear whether or not they have deleted this data. Benson has already pledged to conduct a postelection “efficiency audit” in Wayne County.
In a cellphone name late Friday, Corridor mentioned, “I agree with you that this letter that has gone out prior to now.” However he mentioned he thought the letters and information launch had been essential to clear up any confusion which will have come from the memo.
In November, the Legislature despatched subpoenas to Benson’s workplace, asking it to offer information related to the election. Whereas Benson’s workplace has supplied greater than 1,100 pages of paperwork so far, Corridor mentioned the letter is meant to make sure they don’t delete any data that ought to be supplied to the Legislature.
“We despatched this letter as a result of we’re simply making an attempt to clear up any perceived ambiguity — and I believe these are the 2 key phrases,” Corridor mentioned.
“I am not saying it was deleted, I am simply saying we wish to clear up any perceived ambiguity right here.”
An digital ballot e book guide issued the Michigan Bureau of Elections in September 2020 reiterates this data ought to be deleted until there’s a must preserve it. A state memo from 2015 — when now state Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, was secretary of state — additionally notes “all information and packages related to the set up and use of the (digital ballot e book) be deleted no later than seven days after the canvass of the election.”
The digital pollbook software program permits clerks to carry out routine election features beforehand completed hand, in accordance with the state digital ballot e book guide. It accesses information that’s already out there to election officers, however does so in a approach that’s simpler and quicker, and permits for the creation of stories after an election.
“As soon as the EPB software program is loaded on the laptop computer, the software program permits election inspectors to lookup a voter’s registration report, verify their registration is right, and assign a poll to that voter, basically automating the standard paper course of,” the guide states.
“After the election is full, the EPB software program will generate stories to finish the official precinct report (paper binder pollbook) and a voter historical past file that may be uploaded into the (certified voter file) to replace voter historical past in a matter of minutes.”
Even when the software program is deleted, the secretary of state and clerks nonetheless have entry to voter registration information, ultimate pollbooks from native municipalities, voter histories and the certified voter file.
The guide expressly tells clerks to delete information seven days after the election, mirroring the language in Benson’s memo.
“Delete all EPB information seven days after the ultimate canvas (until there’s a pending recount, court docket problem, or audit/Secretary of State order). This retains voter information safe and prevents the flawed information from being utilized in future elections,” the guide states.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers licensed election outcomes on Nov. 23, following the certification of outcomes all 83 counties within the state. On Dec. 14, Michigan’s 16 delegates to the Electoral School will solid their votes for Biden, who will assume the presidency in January.
Contact Dave Boucher at email@example.com or 313-938-4591. Comply with him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.