Canvassers demand answers after 72% of Detroit’s absentee ballot counts were off

Recorded ballot counts in 72% of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast, spurring officials in Michigan’s largest county to ask the state to investigate ahead of a pivotal presidential election.

Without an explanation from Detroit election workers for the mismatches, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers requested this week for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office to examine the “training and processes” used in Detroit’s Aug. 4 primary, which one official described as a “perfect storm” of challenges. The board is charged with certifying election results.

In 46% of all Detroit’s precincts — absentee and Election Day — vote counts were out of balance, according to information presented Tuesday to the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. Specifically, the number of ballots tracked in precinct poll books did not match the number of ballots counted.

The situation could amplify the spotlight on absentee ballots in Michigan ahead of an election for which record levels of mail-in voting are expected and President Donald Trump is already raising concerns about how votes will be handled.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers approved this resolution asking the Michigan Secretary of State's office to investigate "the training and processes" used by Detroit for the 2020 primary election.

The election results for the primary weren’t incorrect, said Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat and one of the canvassing board’s four members. But, he said, something had gone wrong in the process of tracking ballots precinct by precinct.

Having balanced precincts is particularly important in Michigan because precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted, according to state law. Instead, the original election results would stand.

“It was a perfect storm,” Kinloch said.

The “storm” involved a record number of absentee ballots being cast in Michigan’s primary and seasoned election workers not feeling it was safe to help with administering the election because of COVID-19, he added.

The Wayne County board is asking Benson, a Detroit resident, to investigate “the training and processes used by the City of Detroit” in the primary election. The board also requested that the first-term Democrat appoint a state monitor to oversee the counting of absentee ballots in the general election.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/08/20/benson-asked-investigate-detroit-perfect-storm-voting-problems/5616629002/

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