A Michigan investigation into voting irregularities in the November election has found that discrepancies between the numbers of voters and ballots cast were due to human error. It found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
As President Donald Trump calls for a national investigation into voter fraud, the Michigan investigation, released Thursday, highlights how easy it is to have unintentional voting irregularities that aren’t nefarious at all. While Trump has claimed there was widespread voter fraud in the election, the Michigan probe found potential instances of fraud to be extremely rare.
In December, The Detroit News reported that there was a mismatch between poll books and voting machine printouts in 392 Detroit precincts. The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office examined the results in 136 of those precincts ― ones it determined to be the “worst of the worst” when it came to mismatched voter tallies. In half of those 136 precincts, the Secretary of State’s Office found that the tallies could have been balanced on election night had workers recognized there was a problem.
Beyond issues that could have been addressed on election night, there were just under 600 ballots outstanding. Through their investigation, officials were able to reduce that number to 200 ― roughly 0.08 percent of the 250,000 votes cast in the city. Trump earned over 2 million votes statewide and defeated Hillary Clinton by more than 10,000 votes.
The investigation attributed the discrepancies to poll workers improperly using poll books, leaving counted ballots in a tabulator bin and incorrectly recording provisional ballots.
Through its investigation, the Secretary of State’s Office found 31 people who it believes voted twice: once by absentee ballot and once in person on Election Day. The Secretary of State’s Office referred the 31 individuals to the Attorney General’s Office for criminal prosecution. Even if those 31 people are convicted, they represent a very small fraction of the nearly 4.8 million voters who cast their votes in Michigan during the election.