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Securing Your Vote. Jan BenDor, LMSW, Accredited Election Administrator, State Co-coordinator Michigan Election Reform “Without the Right to Vote, there are no other rights.”. Thomas Paine, American Revolutionary

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securing your vote

Securing Your Vote

Jan BenDor, LMSW, Accredited Election Administrator, State Co-coordinator

Michigan Election Reform

without the right to vote there are no other rights
“Without the Right to Vote, there are no other rights.”
  • Thomas Paine, American Revolutionary
  • A right to vote is not defined in either the U.S. or Michigan Constitution
  • Election laws are complex, vary from state to state, so citizens are mystified
voting rights are procedural based in detailed rules
Voting rights are procedural—based in detailed rules
  • The media ignore voting problems-- inside baseball, not sensational
  • Few voters understand the election system; administrators don’t understand the technology they use
  • Middle class voters trust the system and don’t question it enough
  • Low income voters distrust, don’t vote
state and federal election law complex patchwork
State and Federal Election Law: Complex Patchwork
  • Read MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW Act 116 of 1954 for a cheap sleep enhancer at
  • Local election administrators are poorly trained, overloaded by unfunded federal and state mandates, many choosing to retire
  • Election workers make minimum wage; most are elderly but must work 15-20 hours on election day
our challenge secure the right to vote be counted
Our Challenge: Secure the Right to Vote & be Counted
  • Identify election system pitfalls and help voters avoid them
  • Hold elections officials accountable to standards and public control
  • Stop partisan manipulation of the election system’s weaknesses & work for comprehensive reform
election pitfalls for mi voters
Election Pitfalls for MI Voters
  • 1) What is the best way to register to vote? (Deadline: 30 days before E-day)
    • Driver’s license branch office?
    • Mail-in registration form?
    • Local clerk’s office?
    • Voter registration drive by volunteers?
    • NOTE: there is NO “online” reg in MI!
avoiding pitfalls cont
Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont.
  • 2) You haven’t voted in some time, and wonder if you are still registered. How do you check?
    • SOS branch?
    • Local clerk?
    • County clerk?
avoiding pitfalls cont8
Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont.
  • 3) You can’t get to the precinct on election day due to job, kids, no ride
    • Call local clerk and ask to be on permanent AV application list
    • Month before the election, and Saturday before, 9 a-2p, vote AV in person at Clerk
    • Monday before Election day until 4 p.m., request and vote an absentee ballot
avoiding pitfalls cont9
Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont.
  • 4) You are living temporarily away from home (student, trucker, pilot, expatriot)
    • Register in person at local clerk’s office
    • You decide your address of residence
    • Register as “nontraditional” voter with no home address and PO Box mailing address
    • Month before the election, and Saturday before, 9 a-2p, vote AV in person at Clerk
pitfalls cont
Pitfalls, Cont.
  • 5) You just served time in jail or prison
    • Register in person or verify your continuing registration at local clerk’s office
    • If just released and homeless, register as “nontraditional” voter with no home address and PO Box mailing address
    • No ID is needed to register to vote!
citizens hold officials accountable
Citizens Hold Officials Accountable
  • Credentialed election “Challengers” and MERA Monitors receive training and may circulate in the polling place, view and record information
  • Any member of the public can be a poll watcher, observing from the designated public area
  • Exit pollsters may stand 20 feet from the entrance to a polling place
polling place management
Polling Place Management
  • 10 stations for 2,999 voters?
  • Need 1 voting station for every 50 registered voters, not 300. (2,999 voters X 15 min. per voter=750 voter hours/13 hour voting day=58 stations in the maximum size precinct
  • Use inexpensive cardboard or plastic privacy screens on tables with chairs
at issue right now
At issue right now:
  • Use of the US Mail and out of state driver licenses by SOS Land to purge voters without legal steps required by the NVRA (federal judge said stop)
  • Caging voters by partisan groups—mail, misleading robo calls and fliers
  • Voter intimidation at the polls
  • Tampering with the vote count
stop partisan manipulation of election system weaknesses
Stop partisan manipulation of election system weaknesses
  • Centralization of power in the partisan SOS Bureau of Elections which refuses to comply with Admin Proc Act, issuing arbitrary rules
  • Total lack of checks and balances: citizens forbidden to use cameras or video
  • Partisan enforcement of election laws
  • Open field for partisan vote caging, petition fraud, insider vote count tampering
election reform plan

Election Reform Plan

Michigan Election Reform Alliance


major goals
Guarantee the right to vote

Protect equal access to voting

Fairness for all candidates & issues

Accurate and transparent vote counting

Restore public confidence in Michigan Elections

Clean up and modernize state laws

Nonpartisan, reliable law enforcement

Major Goals
why fix michigan s elections
Why fix Michigan’s elections?
  • Strength of Michigan elections used to reside in local control, diversity, nonpartisan ethic
  • In 1998, the partisan State Bureau of Elections increased control through central registration database (Qualified Voter File)
  • Bureau used the 2002 Help America Vote Act ($80 million) to centralize authority over equipment, data and interpretation of law
hava fixed what was not broke in michigan
HAVA fixed what was not “broke” in Michigan
  • Every jurisdiction forced to accept one of three brands of insecure optical scan tabulators that can be easily hacked
  • Citizens can no longer see the vote actually counted
  • Government responsibility has been outsourced to private corporations
  • No external audits, checks, or balances
seals don t stop e fraud
Seals don’t stop e-fraud
  • Optical scan memory card sized like a credit card
  • 128K
  • No serial number-cards look the same
  • Changes leave no tracks
wire seal on the memory card
Wire seal on the memory card
  • The lid on the case can be removed with a screwdriver, leaving no impact on this wire seal.
just remove the bolt
Just remove the bolt
  • Memory card easily removed and replaced
  • Wire seal stays intact, attached to removed bolt
or use the ports
Or use the ports
  • U. of Connecticut & U of Penn studies showed that the entire memory can be downloaded to a laptop, the program changed, and reloaded in seconds
recounts don t remedy fraud
Recounts Don’t Remedy Fraud
  • Only the losing candidates can petition
  • Fear of sour grapes-sore loser stigma
  • Counties do not have to hand count; Oakland—5 votes per pct. threshold
  • “Unrecountable” if seals broken, poll book unbalanced—dishonest result STANDS!
  • State Board of Canvassers certifies despite evidence; refuses duty to investigate
mera plan for election audits
MERA Plan for Election Audits
  • Establish authority under the Audit Division of the State Treasurer
  • Follows national guidelines of the State Audits Working Group (
  • Election night audit of one race in every precinct to detect malfunctions
  • Post election audits of statistically based sample of precincts
  • Escalation to full recount if warranted
we need your help
We need your help!
  • Bill sponsors and constituent pressure to implement reforms
  • Personal statements at public hearings
  • Citizen involvement in MERA Monitors
  • Tell people about the MERA Plan
  • Publicize
thank you
Thank you!
  • Please contact us with questions, ideas, and comments
  • Jan BenDor 734/484-1744 or