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We’re one close election away from a “total meltdown”

Rick Pluta
A ballot box waits to be recounted in Ingham County during Michigan's recount effort.

The vote recount in Michigan has ended. But it did reveal some problems.

The Secretary of State is planning to audit several Detroit polling places because of irregularities. The number of ballots in the recount containers did not match the number of voters who signed in. In other counties, there were some additional discrepancies as well.

Jocelyn Benson is former dean of the Wayne State University School of Law and founder of the nonpartisan Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration. She joined Stateside to discuss the issues uncovered by Michigan’s recount effort.

"It's great that we're looking into [election issues], but the solutions are there. It's just a question of if there's the political will to implement them."

“The recount has revealed what many of us in the election administration and reform community have known for a long time, which is that, number one, the way we run elections in Michigan is severely antiquated, starting with our machines,” Benson said. “We’re one close election away from a total meltdown.”

In addition to updated machines, Benson said Michigan also needs random post-election audits. She said Michigan needs to verify machines are working and that each vote is counted. 

The recount effort further showed a need for improved poll worker training in this state.

“Which is another thing we’ve been talking about for years,” Benson said. “But again, until a close election or something like this happens, it can oftentimes fall on deaf ears. So, it’s great that we’re all aware of these issues now. It’s great that we’re looking into them, but the solutions are there. It’s just a question of if there’s the political will to implement them.”

For the full interview, listen above.

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