BREAKING: PILF Sues Michigan Secretary of State for Failing to Remove Deceased Registrants from Their Voter Rolls

Published On: November 04th, 2021

PILF identified nearly 26,000 likely deceased registrants on Michigan’s rolls

(Lansing, MI) – November 4, 2021: Today, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson for failure to remove deceased registrants from the voter rolls and for failing to provide documents regarding efforts to remove deceased registrants from the voter rolls.

The Foundation’s analysis reveals that as of August 2021, there were over 25,975 deceased registrants on Michigan’s voter rolls. Of those 25,975:

  • 23,663 registrants have been dead for five years or more
  • 17,479 registrants have been dead for at least a decade
  • 3,956 registrants have been dead for at least 20 years

For example, the Foundation discovered one registrant who, if alive today, would be 100 years old. She died over two decades ago but remains an active voter on Michigan’s voter rolls. The Foundation even found her obituary from the Detroit Free Press.  

The Foundation also discovered another registrant who, if alive today, would be 108 years old. She also died over two decades ago. The Foundation also found her obituary in the Detroit Free Press and her gravestone online.  

Michigan is in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 which requires officials to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.”

Before filling the suit, PILF notified Secretary Benson’s office of its findings of deceased registrants on the state’s voter rolls in September 2020 and November 2020 and alerted Secretary of State Benson she was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.      

“This case is about ensuring that deceased registrants are not receiving ballots,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams. “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 removed deceased registrants creates an opportunity for fraud and makes Michigan’s elections less secure.”

Public Interest Legal Foundation