Election officials criticize Detroit primary ballot counts

Published: Aug. 23, 2020 at 3:46 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan election officials said issues with counting primary ballots in Detroit were “alarming,” raising questions about November.

All four members of the State Board of Canvassers, which is in charge of certifying statewide election results, criticized issues with ballot counting. One questioned whether the secretary of state should step in, according to The Detroit News.

The questions came after the newspaper’s report showing 72% of absentee voting precincts in Detroit had ballot tallies that were off by at least one ballot. As a result, voters tracked in precinct poll books didn’t equal the number of ballots counted in the Aug. 4 primary.

“I think we need an investigation with a conclusion that somebody else is going to run that election or not,” said Norm Shinkle, one of the board’s two Republicans.

Detroit has previously had similar problems. Election officials couldn’t match vote totals for more than half of precincts in 2016, according to the newspaper.

The following year, then-Secretary of State Ruth Johnson required election workers be retrained after an audit found “significant discrepancies” and “an abundance of human errors.”

The board was set to certify statewide election results Friday, but technical issues halted the virtual meeting. A new meeting was scheduled for Monday.

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