by Scott McClallen
A complaint filed to the Michigan Board of Elections claims Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson violated the federal Help America Vote Act by outsourcing the managing of voter rolls to the Electronic Registration Information Center.
The conservative Thomas More Society filed the complaint on behalf of nonprofit Pure Integrity Michigan Elections.
HAVA requires the SOS to maintain Michigan’s Qualified Voter File, the secure voter list used by the bureau of elections, and more than 1,500 Michigan election clerks, without outside assistance.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal claims that outsourcing voter file maintenance could hurt the state’s election process.
“Under the Help America Vote Act, maintaining state voter registration is seen as such a core governmental purpose that Congress deemed that it cannot be delegated to any other organization, including Electronic Registration Information Center,” Kaardal said in a statement. “As every Michigan resident knows, some things must be done by oneself. Similarly, the Help America Vote Act requires the Michigan secretary of state fulfill her constitutional duty and maintain the Qualified Voter File by herself, even if she does so badly.”
The complaint also contends that Benson’s agreement violates HAVA by sharing voter data with ERIC, a third party.
“Under Michigan’s current agreement with Electronic Registration Information Center, the secretary of state must transmit all voter data to the center, as well as licensing and identification records from the motor vehicle department,” Kaardal said. “That clearly violates the Help America Vote Act and should be ceased immediately.”
Michigan Department of State spokesperson Angela Benander told The Center Square that they won’t comment on the complaint but said that only election officials maintain Michigan’s voter rolls.
“We will not comment on the pending complaint but want to remind citizens that Michigan’s voter rolls are maintained by Michigan election officials only and in accordance with state and federal laws,” Benander wrote in an email. “In recent years election officials cancelled more than 400,000 registrations and prepared more than 500,000 additional registrations for cancellation in the years ahead. The cancellation process is explained in full detail and transparency on our website.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Jocelyn Benson” by Ghanumal77. CC BY-SA 3.0. Background Photo “Election Day 2020” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.