The Plan To Restore Election Integrity in Michigan

April 15, 2021: Rescue Michigan has updated our Election Reform Plan. Your feedback is still welcome as we prepare to finalize it.

Read the Election Reform Plan here.

The November 2020 election was a travesty that destroyed public confidence in the democratic process and possibly awarded the presidency of the United States to a candidate who did not truly win.

All Americans, whether Democrat, Republican, or any other political affiliation, deserve free and fair elections with proper safeguards to ensure the process is secure and transparent.

Necessary reforms could be enacted by the Michigan legislature. However, given her pattern of abuse of power, we have no confidence that Governor Whitmer would sign such legislation into law and no confidence that Democrat lawmakers would vote to override her veto.

The only way to pass legislation against the will of a dictatorial governor is with a veto-proof Citizen-Initiated Law.

A citizen-initiated law is the way forward.

Unlike an amendment to the Michigan Constitution, a citizen-initiated law does not require a majority of support from Michigan voters on the ballot. If a sufficient number of signatures (approximately 500,000) are collected, the legislature can pass a law by majority vote that would not be subject to the governor's veto.

Because Michigan's election law is consolidated into a single Act (Michigan Election Law, Public Act 116 of 1954), a single citizen-initiated law can make all necessary revisions. We only need to do this once.

In 2020, citizens came together to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act in record time: less than 90 days. We did it before, and we can do it again!

Click a "Problem" or "Solution" in the list below for an expanded explanation.

A citizen-initiated law is a tremendous undertaking that takes substantial financial resources and careful coordination of logistics and personnel. It requires professional management and careful planning and preparing.

Before we set out to change Michigan's election law, let's explain each of the problems and how we need to address them.
MCL 168.674 (2) requires that local election commissions appoint an equal number of poll workers ("election inspectors" is the term for poll workers in law) from the two major political parties. The obvious intent of this provision was to ensure that both parties were equally represented in the adversarial process of an election and each would prevent the other from misconduct.

However, Michigan voters aren't registered by party, so those who apply to become election inspectors can claim to belong to either party, and other than for a few exceptions such as public and party officials, the party affiliation of those who apply cannot be challenged.

According to sworn testimony, countless Republicans that applied to be poll workers in Detroit were turned away, while the city hired underage teenagers to fill these positions, so many that trainees were warned to expect that some workers might be unable to perform their duties because of work permit restrictions. Republican applicants were told that the positions they applied for had all been filled, despite some of them having applied months in advance.

The City of Detroit did not provide the public a method to apply to become a poll worker on their website or via email. How they recruited these children to manage the polls as election inspectors remains a mystery, but the obvious consequence was seen in videos posted on the Internet where poll workers erupted in cheers each time Republican poll challengers were removed from the TCF Center.
According to MCL 168.673, the county chair of a major political party may submit to the city or township clerks in that county a list of individuals who are interested in serving as an election inspector in that county.

However, the commission can completely disregard these lists, and have no incentive to use them.

The election law should be amended to require election commissions first appoint those qualified applicants endorsed by their county parties before appointing others, and to apportion those applicants equally among precincts and absentee voter counting boards.

It's absurd that those who cannot vote be permitted to administer elections when there is no shortage of qualified voters. Minors are inexperienced, impressionable, easily manipulated, and often ineligible to perform certain duties. Registered voters should be preferred.
An open and transparent application process is essential to prevent partisan commissions from stacking the deck. The application process must be fully accessible to the public, with applications accepted during a specified window and qualified applicants chosen at random, with first preference to party designees, then to registered voters, then lastly to other qualified workers.
Political parties and other groups with an interest in guarding against abuses are authorized to appoint election challengers to closely monitor both the voting process and the counting of ballots. Once duly appointed and credentialed, challengers are given a wide range of authority by the Michigan Election Law to closely monitor the election process. Because their role is so vital, our legislature has made it a felony to threaten, intimidate, or impede the work of an election challenger. In fact, there are only two reasons given by statute to support the expulsion of a challenger from a polling place: if the election challenger is drinking or engaging in disorderly conduct.

Despite the clarity of this law, poll challengers were criminally impeded in the absentee ballot counting event at TCF Center, and elsewhere. Poll challengers were falsely accused of being disorderly after themselves being criminally impeded on the basis of Covid-related "social distancing" rules.

In fact, the Secretary of State had agreed in a legal settlement shortly before the election to revise a directive that condoned impeding poll challengers using "social distancing" requirements, and that poll challengers were to be permitted to perform their tasks as necessary, as long as they wore masks when medically able to do so.

Despite agreed-upon terms, the Secretary of State appears to have failed to communicate the revised directive to election officials, and it was ignored at any rate. Not only were poll challengers unlawfully expelled from the absentee voter counting board at TCF center, local police reportedly assisted election officials in those expulsions. Such assistance, if true, constitute a breach of duty under MCL 168.941 as well as felony impeding of poll challengers under MCL 168.734.

Prosecuting attorneys have a duty to prosecute offenses where credible information of such offenses are received. MCL 168.940.

Expelled poll challengers have strong criminal claims against election officials and Detroit police for the incidents at the TCF center, but without being able to name and identify actors, they may not be able to find justice.
All poll workers and election officials must be trained to know the rights of poll challengers and that impeding poll challengers is a felony in Michigan.

When election crimes are committed, it is critical for witnesses to be able to identify the individuals involved. Ballot inspectors and other election workers should be required to wear name tags identifying them by first and last name at all times in public proceedings, and failure to do so should be a misdemeanor.

All election proceedings are public and the public should have the full right to record them. Voter intimidation is not an issue because voters are not present. The only "intimidation" of video recording is that it faithfully captures the record of what takes place. The public should have the right to participate not only as witnesses (as poll challengers and poll watchers are), but also to record the proceedings as they may in other public settings.
Poll challengers perform the essential duty of preserving the integrity of elections. They have rights and responsibilities.

Poll challengers are not, or should not be, a mercenary army. A financial incentive to serve whoever pays them compromises the poll challengers' duty to election integrity.
As noted by the final report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform founded by former Democrat President Jimmy Carter and Republican James Baker, "Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud."

Indeed, a top Democrat insider and professional election criminal recently confessed his techniques to the New York Post, explaining exactly how he abused the absentee ballot process to commit election fraud.

The election criminal described the techniques he employed, including embezzling absentee ballots and replacing them with his:

The ballot has no specific security features — like a stamp or a watermark — so the insider said he would just make his own ballots.

“I just put [the ballot] through the copy machine and it comes out the same way,” the insider said.

But the return envelopes are “more secure than the ballot. You could never recreate the envelope,” he said. So they had to be collected from real voters.

He would have his operatives fan out, going house to house, convincing voters to let them mail completed ballots on their behalf as a public service. The fraudster and his minions would then take the sealed envelopes home and hold them over boiling water.

“You have to steam it to loosen the glue,” said the insider.

He then would remove the real ballot, place the counterfeit ballot inside the signed certificate, and reseal the envelope.

“Five minutes per ballot tops,” said the insider.
Instead of printing black ink on plain paper, require absentee ballots contain features that make counterfeiting difficult: color-shifting inks, microprinting, and watermarks are all standard security features of U.S. currency.
Michigan's election law strongly provides for the care and handling of absentee ballots in MCL 168.932 by making misconduct a felony. This sensible because absentee ballots are the easiest targets for fraud. Every piece of mail should include a postmark, and any mail without a postmark is highly irregular and suspicious.

Clerks should be required to note whether an absentee ballot was received by mail or in person, and all mail-in ballots that lack postmarks should be rejected.
Another technique described by the election criminal was for insiders to steal ballots:

“You have a postman who is a rabid anti-Trump guy and he's working in Bedminster or some Republican stronghold... He can take those [filled-out] ballots, and knowing 95% are going to a Republican, he can just throw those in the garbage.”

In some cases, mail carriers were members of his “work crew,” and would sift ballots from the mail and hand them over to the operative.

In 2017, more than 500 mail-in ballots in New York City never arrived to the Board of Elections for races that November — leaving hundreds disenfranchised. They eventually were discovered in April 2018. “For some undetermined reason, some baskets of mail that were bound to the New York City Board of Elections were put off to the side at the Brooklyn processing facility,” city elections boss Michael Ryan said at the time of discovery.
Absentee ballot status is a public record that is routinely obtained by campaigns during the "absentee chase" period. Clerks keep daily records of absentee ballots as they receive them. This public information should be required to be accessible to the public, so individuals can confirm that their absentee ballots are received.

(There is no security issue with making this information available to the public, because it already is. Campaigns typically collect these records on a daily basis.)
Another technique described by the election criminal as a "gold mine" was to embezzle the ballots of disabled seniors:

“There are nursing homes where the nurse is actually a paid operative. And they go room by room by room to these old people who still want to feel like they're relevant,” said the whistleblower. “[They] literally fill it out for them.”
Under current law, the Secretary of State "shall promulgate rules establishing uniform standards for state and local nominating, recall, and ballot question petition signatures," (MCL 168.31 (2)) but provides no further requirement. The Secretary of State should be required to issue a uniform signature verification standard that may not be changed during election season, to be applied in all aspects of elections – absentee ballot applications, absentee ballot envelopes, applications to vote, and petitions – and for this standard to be made available to the public.
As reported by whistleblowers, the November 2020 election saw an absence of meaningful signature checks for absentee ballots. This enables vote fraud both through "assistants" signing certifications for the infirm as well as stolen ballots not being caught.

Signature checks must be conducted in public meetings, where challengers have the right to challenge any ballot's signature against the signature on file. Under current practice, absentee ballot envelopes may be processed long before Election Day and out of the public view, with no challengers present. When absentee voter counting boards convene on Election Day, the ballots have already been "approved" and are simply counted.

Clerks should be required to only begin processing absentee ballots in public meetings, announced enough in advance for the public to be informed, and parties permitted to witness (and record) the proceedings and challenge signatures. All challenged signatures must be recorded as challenged ballots, not simply adjudicated by the precinct chairperson.
Michigan law already requires absentee voters certify under penalty of perjury that no unlawful assistance was provided – which includes telling someone in possession of a ballot how to vote. (MCL 168.932) It should be clearer, however, with a statement appearing on the ballot itself as well as the carrier envelope.
In 2020, private political organizations alike flooded Michigan residents with absentee ballot applications. Their lists contained errors, resulting in thousands of confused voters receiving absentee ballot applications for people that clearly should not be registered at their address. Besides the massive confusion, loose applications made it easy for bad actors to request absentee ballots in others' names be sent to themselves.
This would ensure that the only legitimate absentee ballot applications are those issued by the clerks and by the federal government, and only these applications would be accepted.
This would prevent fraudsters from submitting false applications. Voters would be permitted to submit a signed affidavit indicating that the applicant does not have identification if necessary, but those ballots would be processed as challenged ballots for additional security.
There is currently no requirement for precincts to keep absentee ballot envelopes – which include signatures – available for future inspection by the public.
These records should be required to be retained for at least 180 days after an election and subject to FOIA and inspection. Voting machines that capture images of ballots for tabulation should be required to retain those images and disclose them to the public. There is no reason why anonymous ballots need to be kept in secret other than to maintain chain of custody, which is not an issue for a machine capture of the images that essentially creates a backup record.
Voting in person creates a short and simple chain of custody: a ballot is handed directly to the voter, who places the marked ballot in a secrecy sleeve, where it is fed directly into the tabulator. Tabulated ballots are transferred at the end of the day into a transfer case, which is then sealed and not open except in the event of a recount.

Mail-in absentee voting has a far more complex chain of custody, hence the dramatically increased opportunity for fraud. Ballots are given by the clerk to a postal employee, who delivers the ballot to a mailbox. The voter (or someone else) retrieves the mail. The voter (or someone else) returns the ballot by mail or directly to the clerk (or to an outdoor drop box). There is no requirement that the clerk keeps absentee ballots in a secure manner, and indeed, clerks will typically just put them in a box in the township office.

Every step along the chain between the voter and the tabulator provides an opportunity fraud. Some of these issues we have already addressed, such as ballots being intercepted and replaced with counterfeits. However, it is also important that ballots be protected at the clerk's office.
Absentee ballots should be deposited in safe-deposit boxes as soon as clerks log their receipt, and they should be subject to the same chain-of-custody protections as ballots received at the polls.
Michigan's absentee voter period currently begins an astonishing six weeks before Election Day – more than ample time for ballots to be received by mail or delivered to the local clerk's office. Outdoor drop boxes are unnecessary and create additional points of potential failure in the chain of custody. They need their own security. They can be attacked. They add complexity and uncertainty to the process and confer no benefit.
Michigan law allows those without ID to vote, although it is highly unusual for a registered voter to lack valid ID.

As noted by the election criminal in the New York Post story:

When all else failed, the insider would send operatives to vote live in polling stations, particularly in states like New Jersey and New York that do not require voter ID. Pennsylvania, also for the most part, does not.

The best targets were registered voters who routinely skip presidential or municipal elections – information which is publicly available.

“You fill out these index cards with that person's name and district and you go around the city and say, ‘You're going to be him, you're going to be him,’ ” the insider said of how he dispatched his teams of dirty-tricksters.

At the polling place, the fake voter would sign in, “get on line and ... vote,” the insider said. The impostors would simply recreate the signature that already appears in the voter roll as best they could. In the rare instance that a real voter had already signed in and cast a ballot, the impersonator would just chalk it up to an innocent mistake and bolt.

The hazard is compounded by the fact that imposter voters can now conceal their faces behind masks in addition to not presenting ID.

On top of all this, according to the sworn statement of at least one poll worker in the November 2020 election, checks on voters' signatures were not conducted at all.
Under current law, "If an elector's signature contained in the qualified voter file is available in the polling place, the election official shall compare the signature upon the application with the digitized signature provided by the qualified voter file." (MCL 168.523)

The obvious problem is that there is no action required if the qualified voter file is not available – which is often the case.

All precincts should be required to check signatures whenever they are available in the qualified voter file, and poll challenger should have the right to challenge all ballots cast in a precinct where this practice is not performed.

Additionally, MCL 168.509hh should be amended to say the Secretary of State "shall" (rather than "may") capture or reproduce the signature of an elector from a voter registration application or pursuant to section 307 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.307, and transmit the signature to the qualified voter file pursuant to section 509q.
Reports of severe tabulation errors in Antrim county, Michigan brought unprecedented national attention to electronic tabulators and the potential that they may report incorrect results. That the voting machines connect to the Internet raises legitimate concerns about software security.

Even if the tabulators reports were 100% accurate (but especially if they were not), Michiganders have the right to have confidence that vote tabulation machines are verifiably reporting the votes accurately.
Recounts are expensive, legally contentious events involving election officials, campaigns, and their lawyers as competing candidates fight for every vote.

However, for the sole purpose of determining whether voting machines count ballots accurately, a recount can be much simpler.

If each of the major parties in a county have the right to order a recount of a single precinct in a race of their choosing, subject to a reasonable fee paid to the clerk of the city or township of the precinct, the burden would be very low.

At the same time, this would make it impossible for a widespread "hack" to go undetected, because hackers would have no way of knowing in advance which precincts were to be recounted and no way to make the "hacked" result reported by the machine match the paper ballots.
There is no reason for voting machines to be connected to the Internet that outweighs the potential hazard.

Voting machines produce receipt tapes at the end of the election. These results can be transmitted by text message, texted photos, phoned in, or simply delivered to the clerk's office. There is no reason a voting machine needs to transmit results to a receiving board electronically. The results can wait. Voter confidence in elections much more important.
As the Amistad Project's paper on this subject eloquently put it:

The 2020 presidential election witnessed an unprecedented and coordinated public-private partnership to improperly influence the 2020 presidential election on behalf of one particular candidate and party.

Funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other high-tech interests, activist organizations created a two-tiered election system that treated voters differently depending on whether they lived in Democrat or Republican strongholds. Private monies dictated city and county election management contrary to both federal law and state election plans endorsed and developed by state legislatures with authority granted by the United States Constitution.

Moreover, executive officials in swing states facilitated, through unique and novel contracts, the sharing of private and sensitive information about citizens within those states with private interests, some whom actively promote leftist candidates and agendas.

This data sharing allowed direct access to data of unique political value to leftist causes, and created new vulnerabilities for digital manipulation of state electronic poll books and counting systems and machines.

This public-private partnership in these swing states effectively placed government’s thumb on the scale to help these private interests achieve their objectives and to benefit the candidates of one political party.

Read the full report here.
It should be a felony for an election official to accept from an individual or an entity a gift of money or property for the administering of an election.
In one of the more outrageous and brazen examples of election manipulation, members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers were bullied into certifying the election results despite massive evidence of laws being broken en masse, including a stunning 70% of absentee voter counting boards in Detroit being out of balance.

Just hours after having given in to the pressure, half of the board announced they would rescind their certification. The media gleefully reported that there was no legal mechanism for them to do so despite the fact that their certification was given under duress.
This is a straightforward, common-sense policy to address an obvious deficiency in current law.
Any election with this much evident misconduct should go directly to court.

Issues Beyond Legislative Remedy
Ballot harvesting is a felony in Michigan. MCL 168.932(f). However, judge Cynthia Stephens suspended the law in the November 2020 election, citing Covid-19. Stephens ruled that "these are not ordinary times" and speculated that "one can think of residents in an assisted living facility, the access to which has been extremely limited during the pandemic, who might fall into this category [of being without an immediate family member to deliver their ballots]." Stephens ignored the fact that absentee ballots were issued as early as six weeks before the election.

There is no solution other than litigating this issue or amending the Michigan Constitution, because Judge Stephens suspended the existing law and could suspend any other law the same way. The only remedy is for a higher court to reverse the decision or the Michigan Constitution to be amended.

Problems For Further Study
The court system thoroughly disgraced itself and let down the American people by systematically refusing to hear arguments and allow evidence to be presented.

There may be statutory remedies to prevent courts from improperly using these excuses in future cases.

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