News Story

Michigan Secretary of State: 541K inactive voter registrations to be purged by 2025

In 2023, 102K will be cancelled, followed by another 439K in 2025, state says

The Michigan Secretary of State will purge as many as 541,000 inactive voter registrations by the end of 2025, the department said Tuesday.

According to a dashboard at the department’s website, 101,887 inactive registrations will be cancelled in 2023, with another 438,985 to be cancelled in 2025. Michigan has about 8.16 million registered voters, according to the dashboard.

Federal law allows inactive voters to be removed after two general federal elections, Jake Rollow, a spokesman for the secretary of state, told Michigan Capitol Confidential. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent a statewide mailing to all voters in 2020 — the first such notice that has been sent in a decade, according to the department. The mailing, Rollow explained, was an absentee ballot request form.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit against Benson in her professional capacity, alleging that Michigan has 26,000 dead people still on its voter rolls. Rollow responded to to the lawsuit by telling CapCon, “While it is inappropriate to comment on pending litigation, we want to assure Michigan citizens that Michigan’s voter registration list is maintained in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws and our system has secure protocols in place to ensure its integrity.”

A March audit of the state Bureau of Elections found 3,650 dead people on Michigan’s voter rolls, during a seven-week period it reviewed. After the audit was published, the Secretary of State started to reconcile the Qualified Voter List quarterly against the Driver’s License List, in addition to making weekly updates.

Rollow explained that when someone dies, that person’s voter registration is cancelled immediately, once the Secretary of State receives an official confirmation. That comes weekly to the Bureau of Elections, by way of updates from the Social Security Administration’s Master Death File.

But removing inactive registrations requires either specific proof or knowledge that a registered person has died or the passage of a certain amount of time, Rollow said.

“Instances of voter fraud remain extremely infrequent and isolated, are prosecuted, and are prevented by the many security checks built into Michigan’s elections system,” Rollow said.

And here is the webpage where you can see how many registrations are slated for cancellation and when: Voter registration statistics.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.