Johnson has ‘full confidence’ in Michigan elections

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Shelby Township — Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Monday she has “full confidence” in the state’s decentralized election system, despite broad claims by Republican Donald Trump that the presidential election will be “rigged.”

“In Michigan, we have the checks and balances to make sure that the elections will be done properly, with integrity,” Johnson told The Detroit News before attending a Macomb County GOP dinner Monday night with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence.

Michigan’s system of elections is conducted by 1,603 municipal clerks in cities, villages and townships using paper ballots that are scanned into a machine guards against fraud by ensuring no single agency has control over the collection of results, Johnson said.

“We have so many checks and balances with the local clerk and then 30,000 precinct workers,” she said.

Trump said Sunday the election may be rigged at the ballot box.

“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s suggestion that widespread voter fraud could deny him the election has caused Republican election officials across the country to respond.

Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, said it’s “irresponsible” for Trump to claim the presidential election will be rigged in his opponent’s favor.

“I can reassure Donald Trump: I am in charge of elections in Ohio, and they're not going to be rigged. I'll make sure of that,” Husted said Monday on CNN.

Johnson was not as forceful as her Ohio colleague.

“I feel confident ours will have the integrity in it because we have taken the steps, we’ve really doubled-down on them so people will have confidence,” said Johnson, a Republican serving in her second term.

Johnson said since she took office in 2011 her department has removed more than 889,000 voters from the voter registration rolls who have either died or left the state.

In a small number of cases, non-resident immigrants who were accidently registered to vote when they received drivers licenses also have been removed from the voter rolls, Johnson said.

After municipal clerks send election results to their county clerk, there’s a two-week period for county boards of canvassers to review the results in each precinct, Johnson said.

Johnson likens Michigan’s election system to “wearing a belt and suspenders.”

(517) 371-3661

Twitter: @ChadLivengood