Detroit primary election irregularities may lead to state stepping in

72% of Detroit's absentee ballots not recountable

The Michigan Board of Canvassers is asking the Secretary of State to get more closely involved in Detroit’s next election.
The Michigan Board of Canvassers is asking the Secretary of State to get more closely involved in Detroit’s next election.

DETROIT – The Michigan Board of Canvassers is asking the Secretary of State to get more closely involved in Detroit’s next election.

According to officials, 72 percent of Detroit’s absentee ballots weren’t re-countable based on irregularities in ballot handling. The same went for nearly half of the city’s precincts.

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

Earlier this month, there were a lot of new election workers. They replaced many who were concerned about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Board of Canvassers member Norm Shinkle called the situation horrible and tragic.

Poll workers are supposed to stay until all the vote counts are accurate and everything balances. That didn’t happen.

The Board of Canvassers decided to certify the Aug. 4 election results and then sent a message to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to step in and make sure there is good training for the fall.

READ: Worried about whether your vote will count? Here’s how to submit a ballot without using the mail

Shinkle also said the temporary poll workers from the last election shouldn’t be allowed to work again.

“Just don’t let them work again. Start with that, and then get as many qualified people as you can and know what they’re doing for at least this November’s election,” Shinkle said.

Wayne County Board of Canvassers member Jonathan Kinlock agrees with Shinkle and said a lot needs to change with the city’s election department.

“What we can do is let the public know when we see errors, when we see these type of egregious sort of behaviors that occur with folks leaving the absentee county vote before they finish their work,” Kinlock said. “We can do that. We can let the public know, as well as the Secretary of State know, that we need to make sure that this does not occur.”

Local 4 reached out to Janice Winfrey and didn’t get a call back.

Coronavirus is impacting a lot of things and elections are one of them. The expectation is that the absentee balloting counts will be off the charts this November, which means the elections department needs to improve.

READ: Why 10,000 absentee ballots were rejected in Michigan primary


About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.