Legal nonprofit pressures top Michigan elections official to remove 25,000 dead voters from records

by Ryan Meilstrup

Photo: Adobe Stock

A U.S. District Court in Michigan has denied Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s motion to dismiss a case against her office for failing to purge Michigan’s voting rolls of 25,000 names that the suit alleges are deceased.

Last November, the nonprofit organization Public Legal Foundation brought a suit against Benson alleging that “25, 975 deceased registrants” on the Michigan voting rolls needed to be cleaned from the list.

According to Just the News, the complaint formally states the following: 

“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 foundation said it had identified “active” and “inactive” registered voters, who are in fact dead, on the rolls, according to the Social Security Death Index.

There were 24,645 active registrants and 1,330 inactive registrants found on the voter rolls as of Aug. 5 who are potentially deceased. A total of 334 potentially dead registrants were registered after their death dates.

The lawsuit alleges that Michigan has not corrected its voter rolls since the foundation brought the matter to the state’s attention in September 2021.

Following news that the U.S. District Court in Western Michigan was denying Secretary Benson’s motion to dismiss their case against her, Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams explained his organization’s suit on the “Just the News, Not Noise” television show on Friday, when he said the following:

“Yeah, 25,000 dead registrants on the active rolls in Michigan — like 4,000 of them had been dead for 20 years,” said Adams, a former Department of Justice voting rights attorney. “We had pictures of their gravestones in the complaint. We sent Jocelyn Benson … notice about these dead people before the 2020 election. She didn’t do anything.

“We finally sued. She still hasn’t done anything — tried to get the case dismissed saying we aren’t allowed to sue” for lack of standing, “and she lost. So, the case is going to go forward. Every state that’s faced this kind of lawsuit eventually settles with us. Let’s see if she does.”

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