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Michigan clerks hit with massive FOIA request ahead of midterm elections

Waterford Township Clerk Sue Camaleri unhappy with request

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WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Michigan clerks preparing for the midterm elections have an unexpected project keeping them busy.

A freedom of information request went to every Michigan clerk, seeking information about the 2016 election. Waterford Township Clerk Sue Camaleri is unhappy with the request.

Camaleri said the issue with the request is timing. The FOIA requires a response, and she said she already sent a letter to the organization making the request.

The mass FOIA is from a woman named Emily who is from the group United Impact. She's requesting election information few clerks could remember being asked about in this fashion.

The FOIA demands copies of all Michigan ballots that were cast and counted, including absentee and provisional ballots. It asked for all ballots that weren't counted and the reasons why, and for any and all records regarding spoiled or rejected ballots.

The request baffled Camileri.

"What purpose is there to looking at the images itself?" Camileri asked. "I couldn't figure out why they would want to do that."

Camileri and Waterford Township officials are fulfilling some of the requests but denying copying the full ballots because they're 19 inches, and the township lacks the equipment to meet the request.

Camileri said United Impact doesn't need the ballots because they're anonymous.

"So we told them we would send them copies of the applications and copies of the envelopes, the vote, the absentee voter returned ballots," Camileri said.

For this, she'll charge nearly $400 because she won't give away signatures, names or addresses, which have to be blotted out.

Reports from Washington on Tuesday afternoon cite the Priorities USA Foundation, a George Soros-funded political-action committee, behind the effort looking to check into vote suppression across the country.

Camileri doesn't think the effort will go very far because of the expense.

"I haven't heard of (any other clerks) actually getting a check," she said.

Camileri told Local 4 if she were to fulfill the entire request the way it's written, it would cost $90,000. She wants to see the first check before thinking she will do the rest.

Detroit officials said it would cost $600,000 to fulfill the request.


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