Board of Canvassers: 72 percent of Detroit absentee precincts have inaccurate counts

More than 50 percent Detroit precincts couldn't be recounted in 2016

DETROIT – The Wayne County Board of Canvassers is sounding the alarm after serious discrepancies in the counting of absentee precincts in the city of Detroit in the August primary.

“Based on the inaccuracies that we saw during the canvass something has to happen we can’t go into November with what occurred during the primary,” said Monica Palmer, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers.

Seventy-two percent of those absentee precincts have an inaccurate count.

This is not the first time there have been counting problems in Detroit. In 2016, presidential candidate Jill Stein called for a recount. More than 50 percent of Detroit’s precincts couldn’t be recounted because the counts didn’t match.

Calls made to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey were not immediately returned but it has been a struggle to come up with enough capable poll workers.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers is asking Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to step in and investigate the training and processes used in the Detroit Clerk’s office.

“The Bureau of Elections will work with City of Detroit to identify any errors that may have occurred in the processing of absent voter ballots and to implement any needed improvements to training procedures in advance of November,” said Benson spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer.

Discrepancies in vote tallying carry serious consequences if a recount is ordered.

“With so many precincts being out of balance in the absentee counting board anything that is out of balance unexplained is not recountable,” Palmer said. “That’s disenfranchising everyone who has voted in those precincts.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan issued a statement to Local 4 and said, “We are reaching out to the Secretary of State and city clerk to make sure this gets fixed immediately. We cannot have a recurrence of those problems in November.”

About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.