Michigan election officials began conducting a statewide audit of the Nov. 3 general election Monday that involves reviewing ballots from more than half of the state’s local jurisdictions, which is more than have ever participated in such an audit in the nation, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
The Michigan Department of State will work with county and local election officials to undertake the “risk-limiting” audit, which will entail hand counting ballots from randomly selected jurisdictions across the state.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she hopes the audit will increase confidence in the election process and outcome after a disinformation campaign by President Donald Trump and his allies to sow doubt on the election precipitated the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6.
“Post-election audits are an important part of the elections process and are critical to both affirming the accuracy of the results and reinforcing citizen trust in the system,” Benson said.
She added, “This year more than ever, with the high volume of misinformation spread about what was an incredibly safe, secure and accurate election, conducting this bipartisan process openly and transparently is an important step in ensuring Michigan voters understand the truth about the security and integrity of our election system.”
On Monday, county and local clerks, as well as staff from the state Bureau of Elections and Secretary of State’s office, each rolled a ten-sided die twice to generate a 20-digit number that will be plugged into the auditing software to select ballots that will be retrieved from Michigan’s local election jurisdictions and reviewed by hand.
The audit will involve retrieving more than 18,000 ballots from more than half of the state’s election jurisdictions.
Ahead of the die roll, Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater said, “The risk-limiting audit showcases two major strengths of election administration in Michigan. Number one, we have paper ballots… The second thing that it showcases is the strength of our local and county election administrators in Michigan.”
Clerks will have two weeks to retrieve and review ballots. After that, the Michigan Department of State will announce the results of the audit, comparing the review of the randomly selected hand-reviewed ballots and the statewide certified election results.
Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Contact her at email@example.com or 313-296-5743 for comments or to suggest a fact-check. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan election officials begin statewide audit of Nov. 3 vote