A good-government group is suing Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for refusing to remove dead registrants from her state’s voter rolls and for refusing to provide documents regarding her agency’s efforts to remove them from those lists.
The Indianapolis-based Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a federal lawsuit on Nov. 3 against Benson, a Democrat in office since 2019, for alleged violations of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
Section 8 of the NVRA requires the state to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters by reason of … the death of the registrant,” the legal complaint states.
Benson’s “violations of the NVRA have harmed and continue to harm and frustrate the Foundation’s purpose of protecting the integrity of the electoral process, ensuring that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained, and educating the public about the same.
“The Foundation’s expenditure of significant time and money in Michigan seeking to rectify Defendant’s failure to clean up the voter rolls by removing the surfeit of deceased registrants from such rolls has also forced the Foundation to divert its limited resources from other states with similar issues,” the complaint states.
Involved in left-wing politics before assuming office, Benson, formerly a law professor, previously worked for the Democratic National Committee, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Public Radio, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to Ballotpedia.
PILF describes itself as “the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity,” existing “to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.”
According to PILF’s research, there were more than 25,975 deceased registrants on Michigan’s voter rolls as of August.
Of that total: 23,663 registrants have been dead for five years or more; 17,479 registrants have been dead for at least a decade; and 3,956 registrants have been dead for at least 20 years.
PILF discovered two deceased registrants, who, if they were alive today, would be 100 and 108 years old, respectively.
PILF President J. Christian Adams said his organization filed suit to protect electoral integrity.
“This case is about ensuring that deceased registrants are not receiving ballots,” Adams said in a statement.
“For over a year, we’ve shared specific data with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office about the alarming problem of deceased registrants on Michigan’s voter rolls. Secretary Benson has done nothing to resolve the problem and is even refusing to hand over public documents related to these failures. The failure to remove deceased registrants creates an opportunity for fraud and makes Michigan’s elections less secure.”
Tracy Wimmer, director of media relations for Benson’s office, implied the lawsuit lacked merit.
“We will not comment on the specifics of pending litigation,” Wimmer told The Epoch Times via email.
“Michigan maintains its voter registration list in accordance with all state and federal laws, including provisions for deceased voters. As we’ve seen throughout the past year, meritless lawsuits serve as press releases for those seeking to further election misinformation and undermine American democracy.”