LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – You may have noticed an unusual political ad running in Michigan, including here on WLNS TV6, in which Republican candidate for governor Kevin Rinke discusses the issue of election fraud, including from dead voters

“Why is it that dead people always vote Democrat?… As governor, I’ll audit the voting rolls to make sure all voters are registered, identified, and alive. And I’ll create an election integrity unit to investigate any hint of cheating. Together, you and I can lay voter fraud to rest. Sorry, bud,” Rinke says in an ad.

The “bud” he’s referring to is a zombie wearing a Biden-Harris 2020 shirt, possibly alluding to the false claim that votes from dead people influenced the 2020 election.

Because this is political speech, which is protected by the First Amendment, television stations including WLNS are required to air the ad.

To be clear, Michigan does audit its elections, and any incidents of voter fraud are investigated.

In the November 2020 general election, for example, multiple audits at the state and local levels were conducted by officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties. They 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 2019 and November 2020, there were about 2,800 linked to voters identified as dead. That’s roughly 0.02% percent of cast votes.

Almost all of those were cast by people who mailed in absentee ballots but then died before the day of the election. 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 preprocessing 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.