An audit of Michigan’s Bureau of Elections found that officials failed to meet all the requirements of its oversight responsibilities. However, despite the missteps, the audit concluded Michigan’s electoral systems were safe.
The audit began on October 1 of 2016 and concluded on April 30 of this year.
Among the issues the report listed was a lack of security controls for the file of Michigan’s 7.5 million voters. The shortfall of security allowed one former employee to access that file. Their access to the file did not lead to any tampering or deletion of information, however. The qualified voter file retains its integrity.
The audit’s resulting report also cited 233 voters on the roll with an age in excess of 122 years – the oldest recorded human presently alive. That discrepancy likely comes from a function of the system that flags voters lacking a date of birth. When the system discovers a person without a DOB, it automatically enters an impossible one. This effectually highlights that voter’s information for review.
Additionally, the report stated election officials lacked proper training in 14% of Michigan counties. It also said the bureau failed to meet deadlines implemented by the Campaign Finance Act for campaign statement reviews, lobby reports, and campaign finance complaints.
In spite of these issues, the report ultimately concluded the state’s bureau sufficiently met its core requirements. It also found there not to be a single instance of an ineligible person voting.
Bureau of Elections Makes Improvements
Still, Michigan’s Bureau of Elections seeks to improve its functionality. The report’s period of audit fell primarily under the former Secretary of State Republican Ruth Johnson. Democrat Jocelyn Benson took over the office as of January 1 this year following last year’s election win. The Bureau of Elections falls under the Secretary of State’s list of responsibilities.
Jake Rollow, a spokesperson for Benson, said the bureau began implementing reforms to improve upon areas identified in the report. Those improvements will continue through 2020 in advance of next year’s November elections.