Report: At Least 1400 Noncitizens Registered to Vote in Detroit Metro

Published On: October 22nd, 2018

1500+ Voters Aged 105 or Older

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – October 22, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released Motor Voter Mayhem, a new report detailing how noncitizens were caught within Michigan’s voter registration process—particularly in the Detroit metro area. The study also reveals problems related to voter duplication and implausibly old dates of birth listed on active registration files.

Michigan, like other states and jurisdictions studied before, demonstrates how noncitizens become registered to vote through DMV transactions and others like it required by the National Voter Registration Act (aka Motor Voter). The State does not have a verification system keeping false claims of citizenship (intentionally given or otherwise) from being accepted during voter registration. Immigrants and citizens alike continue to suffer the consequences. Several Michigan jurisdictions also exhibited alarming problems with other voter roll maintenance obligations like duplications and potentially deceased registrants remaining on the rolls for years on end.

Noncitizen Data Findings Summary

Detroit: 822

Sterling Heights: 164

Warren: 85

Dearborn: 84

Westland: 71

Clinton Township: 48

Canton Township: 37

Taylor: 36

Ann Arbor: 31

Livonia: 23

St. Clair Shores: 22

Others: 21

1,444 Disclosed Noncitizen Removals


Duplicated Active Registrations

Detroit: 1,748

Flint: 358

Livonia: 57

Grand Rapids: 54

Dearborn: 47

2,264 Total


Registrants Aged 105+

Detroit: 1,244 (20 from the 1800s)

Flint: 202 (50 from the 1800s)

Livonia: 35

Dearborn: 31

Grand Rapids: 2

1,514 Total


“Motor Voter is failing Motor City,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Like this Foundation has seen in other jurisdictions, Motor Voter is inviting noncitizens onto voter rolls. This report also encourages state and local officials to take a closer look at procedures that are yielding alarming numbers of duplicate and potentially deceased registrants.” 

The Foundation advances solutions necessary to close off the voter registration system from ineligible noncitizens in the latest report:

  • Verify claims of citizenship in registration applications against documentary evidence held in driver’s license and other government databases;
  • Build better information-sharing procedures with immigration and customs agencies to prevent ineligible applicants from proceeding and identify those still masked by a broken system;
  • Collaborate with state and federal programs designed to confirm eligibility for various benefit programs; and
  • Improve public education efforts to warn legal permanent residents and others to refuse voter registration offers by any party or they risk deportation when naturalizing.

The PILF is currently engaged in federal litigation to seek the release of similar documents representative of the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Harris County, Texas.

Motor Voter Mayhem follows the Foundation’s previous reports studying noncitizen voter participation in “sanctuary” cities, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Access to Motor Voter Mayhem: Michigan’s Voter Rolls in Disrepair is available, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.


Public Interest Legal Foundation