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31 cases of double voting found in 2016 election

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s elections chief says it appears there were 31 instances of people casting two ballots in the 2016 election, but it doesn’t seem to have changed any results. That was the finding of audits of the election results, as well as a separate inquiry into ballot irregularities in Detroit.

Elections Director Chris Thomas says these are cases where people voted absentee, but then showed up to vote in person on Election Day. He says investigations will determine whether these were mistakes or voter fraud. But he also says the number of double votes are a tiny fraction of the 4.8 million ballots cast in Michigan, and they did not change any election results.

“We certainly have no massive or pervasive fraud in Michigan,” Thomas told the state House Elections and Ethics Committee.

Intentionally voting twice is a felony with a punishment of up to four years in prison and a two thousand dollar fine. The cases were referred to the state Attorney General’s office. Attorney General Bill Schuette says the cases are under review.

Thomas says the auditing process is new, so it’s impossible to compare double-voting in the 2016 election to prior years.

There was also a separate audit of Detroit’s election process after most of the city’s precincts could not be recounted following the November election because of discrepencies between the number of voters recorded in poll books and the number of ballots tabulated by voting machines.

Thomas says the audit found the problems were due to human error and not intentional tampering. His report recommends better training and recruiting more poll workers to man voting stations on Election Day.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.