Court nixes Mich Democrat secretary of state's try to end suit alleging she didn't purge voter rolls

"It is astonishing that Secretary Benson is so vigorously opposing effective list maintenance," PILF President J. Christian Adams said.

Updated: August 29, 2022 - 2:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A federal court has denied an attempt by Michigan's Democrat secretary of state to dismiss a lawsuit alleging her office has failed to remove the names of tens of thousands of deceased voters from the voter rolls.

On Thursday, the U.S. Western District Court of Michigan denied Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's motion to dismiss the suit. It was brought against her by the Public Interest Legal Foundation in November 2021, alleging that 25,975 deceased registrants remain on Michigan voter rolls.

The Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and Rise, Inc., filed motions to intervene on behalf of the secretary of state's office that were also denied by the court.

In rejecting Benson's request for dismissal, the court said the section of the National Voter Registration Act in 1993 that reads states must make "a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters" is the law at issue in the case.

The foundation notified the secretary of state's office about the voter rolls in September and November 2020, a year prior to filing the lawsuit.

According to the foundation's analysis, 23,663 registrants have allegedly been dead for five years or more; 17,479 registrants have allegedly been deceased for at least a decade; and 3,956 registrants who allegedly died at least 20 years ago are still on the voter rolls.

"It is astonishing that Secretary Benson is so vigorously opposing effective list maintenance," PILF President J. Christian Adams said.

PILF won a similar legal victory in Pennsylvania when 20,000 deceased registrants were removed from the commonwealth's voter rolls.

"It's remarkable that after sharing this data with the Secretary of State in 2020, dead registrants remained on the state’s voter rolls," Adams also said. "This initial win is the first step to ensuring that deceased registrants are not receiving ballots and reducing the opportunity for fraud in Michigan’s elections."