Secretary of State Benson: Statewide audit affirms election outcome

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — A statewide election audit has affirmed Michigan's vote-counting machines are accurate and President Joe Biden won the state's election, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Friday.

Hundreds of municipal and county clerks from more than 1,300 jurisdictions took part in Michigan’s auditing exercise, hand-counting more than 18,000 ballots that were randomly selected, according to a press release from Benson's office.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

In the hand count, Biden received more votes than former President Donald Trump, and the percentage of votes for each candidate was within "fractions of a percentage point of machine-tabulated totals," according to a press release.

“This statewide audit process affirms what election officials on both sides of the aisle have said since November — that Michigan’s election was conducted securely and fairly, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters," Benson said. "I congratulate our election clerks for carrying out the most successful election in our state’s history, and thank them for affirming the integrity of our elections by participating in this process."

Trump, who lost Michigan by 154,000 votes to Biden, and some of his supporters have sought to discredit and overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election in swing states. But they haven't provided evidence that backs up their claims of widespread fraud.

In the state’s three largest counties, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, each of which uses a different voting machine vendor, the audit results were also all within 1 percentage point of the November results, the release from the Secretary of State's office said.

The audit exercise was conducted by generating a statewide manifest that included the number of ballots cast in every jurisdiction and then using a randomly generated 20-digit number to select 18,162 ballots, according to the release.

Clerks then retrieved ballots selected in their jurisdictions and shared whether there was a vote for president and, if so, for which candidate. Clerks retrieved a total of 18,084 ballots, the release added.

The Bureau of Elections is compiling a full report of the results, which will be published upon completion.