Detroit Caucus Calls for Elections Overhaul

SOS audit reveals critical voting issues in Detroit precincts
Friday, February 10, 2017

DETROIT — The House Democratic Detroit Caucus called today for an overhaul of the clerk’s office in Detroit, with an emphasis on better training for clerks and poll workers, and closer inspection of facilities. The information comes after the Secretary of State released their audit of 136 Detroit precincts which had voting-related issues in the 2016 election. The audit determined that the errors were mainly a result of human error.

“This kind of negligence is absolutely unacceptable,” said state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit, vice chairwoman of the Detroit caucus. “Detroit became a national spectacle when these discrepancies were discovered last year, and as a result trust in government — by people in and out of the city — has been eroded further. The leadership of the Elections Commission has a responsibility to ensure that all aspects of the voting process are up to par, including appropriate training of humans involved in the process. Yes, everyone makes mistakes. But these mistakes, in aggregate, called into question the integrity of this election — one of the most critical elections in modern history. That is shameful.”

The audit laid out with certainty that the issues which led to votes from hundreds of precincts being verified during a December 2016 recount was not due to voter fraud or malfunctioning machines — two situations previously thought to have caused problems throughout the city. Prior to the release of the audit, Detroit citizens and elected officials alike had expressed outrage and dismay at the situation, leading many who already feel disconnected from their state and federal government, to feel further disenfranchised.

The voting rights of every single citizen must be protected,” said state Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). “This audit has revealed important issues, and that administrative improvements are critical to ensuring that every vote is counted, and every voice is heard. We need to ensure that every poll worker receives training that is robust. Attention to detail and proficiency in our electronic voting systems in these circumstances is vital to protecting the integrity of our elections. People will not trust their elected official to represent them appropriately if they cannot trust that their votes even mattered in the first place.”

“We owe it not only to Detroiters, but to people throughout the state, to guarantee that the voting process will not only be easy, but secure,” said state Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit). “Access to free and fair elections is the bedrock our democracy, and ‘fair’ means that every aspect of that process is held to the highest possible standard. Our citizens deserve better, and we will fight to ensure that they receive it come the next election.”