Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Bollin: Michigan election laws must fight fraud, make fair accommodations for local recounts
RELEASE|June 20, 2024
Contact: Ann Bollin

State Rep. Ann Bollin recently voted against a partisan measure to make significant changes to Michigan’s election recount process.

As a former clerk with more than 16 years of experience overseeing elections, Bollin understands the need for balance between preventing frivolous recounts and safeguarding against election fraud. Senate Bills 603 and 604 go too far, stripping away measures put in place to prevent fraud. The bills also drastically increase the cost on candidates who seek a recount, even for elections decided by single digits.

“I understand the importance of preventing frivolous recounts, but we must also acknowledge the rights of candidates and voters to ensure they have confidence in the results,” said Bollin, R-Brighton Township. “These bills do not strike the right balance. By making recounts too expensive, we are effectively pricing out local candidates from ensuring the accuracy of election results and diminishing the public’s confidence in the process.

“As a former clerk, experience tells me that most recounts are not because of accusations of fraud, but because results are close.”

Under current law, recounts of votes can be done based on the allegation of fraud or a mistake. The legislation removes fraud as a reason for a recount. It also states that recount petitions may only allege an error and must state that there would have been a different outcome in the election without that error.

“This proposal removes important measures that ensure the integrity of Michigan’s elections,” Bollin said. “Our current laws provide bipartisan county boards of canvassers the authority to investigate potential fraud. They must have confidence in the administration of the election, so they are confident in certifying the results. Removing these safeguards is a step in the wrong direction.”

The bills also double the fees for candidates requesting a recount and add fees for each precinct that needs to be recounted, including special precincts for early voting and absent voter counting boards.

“These additional fees might not be a problem for well-funded statewide campaigns, but they could be a significant obstacle for local candidates,” Bollin said. “Local races, like city council, school board, and township trustee elections, often come down to just a few votes. In such tight races, confidence in the results in paramount. Recounts are part of the process, and very rare.”

Bollin sponsored an amendment to reduce the financial burden on those requesting a recount. The amendment would have ensured that candidates do not have to pay extra fees for ballots cast or counted at early voting centers and absent voter counting boards. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected.

Senate Bills 603 and 604 were approved by the House along partisan lines. They will soon be presented to the governor for her consideration as law.


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