LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — You may have noticed an unusual political advertisement running in Michigan, including right here on WLNS.
In the advertisement, Republican candidate for Governor Kevin Rinke discusses the issue of election fraud, including from dead voters, and says he would take it on as governor.
“Why is it that dead people always vote Democrat?” Rinke says. “As governor, I’ll audit the voting rolls to make sure all voters are registered, identified, and alive. Together, you and I can lay voter fraud to rest.”
While TV stations are not required to air any political ads, if they turn down an ad for one candidate they cannot accept an ad from their opposition.
In addition, once a station has accepted ads for a particular race, they not only must air ads for all candidates in that race, if they pay for them and fill out the disclosures that are required by the FCC, but they cannot censor the ads, whether the content is true or false.
The only way stations may be able to reject a political ad for its content is if it violates FCC obscenity rules.
To be clear, Michigan does audit its elections, and any incidents of voter fraud are investigated.
In the November 2020 general election, multiple audits at the state and local level conducted by officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties found no evidence of fraud that could impact the results.
But what about the issue of dead voters specifically? The state has audited that as well.
In the almost 12 million votes cast over eight elections between May of 2019 and November of 2020, there were about 2,800 votes, roughly 0.02 percent of those votes cast, linked to voters identified as dead.
Almost all of those were cast by people who mailed in absentee ballots, but then died before election day. That is not fraud, and per Michigan law, those votes were not counted.
For the rest, the auditors point to clerical errors. They recommended expanding the pre-processing of absentee ballots to make these issues easier to spot.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office says it is not aware of a single confirmed case of a ballot being cast on behalf of a dead person in Michigan in the last presidential election.
So no, dead people are not a major problem in Michigan’s elections.