Actions

Clerk says dead people’s votes counted in Clinton Twp. due to mistake by county clerk

WXMI_Default-Image_1280x720.png
Posted at 11:14 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 23:14:18-05

MACOMB COUNTY (WXYZ) — The clerk in Clinton Township is sounding the alarm about dead people voting. Something she says could have easily been avoided.

“The saying goes, 'Dead men don’t talk,' but in Macomb County evidently dead men do talk,” says Township Clerk Kim Meltzer.

Meltzer says she was stunned after opening her office mail on Nov. 6, days after the last election. In an envelope from the Macomb County clerk Fred Miller, she received death certificates of people who passed away between Oct. 9 and 26.

She says their absentee votes were counted against Michigan law, due to the late notice.

“These 10 death certificates in front of me now all voted and all died in October," Meltzer said. "There was plenty of time to get this notice to us so these ballots weren’t counted.”

She says this was no conspiracy but rather negligence on the part of the county clerk, who could’ve simply picked up the phone to make a notification.

“We’re all human," she adds. "Mistakes can be made. But with this number of people voting, and there was a lot of time, why wasn’t this a priority for them to get this over to us and we could pull those ballots?”

While rules differ from state to state, Michigan is clear on what’s allowed and the importance of strong communication. In nearby Oakland County, WXYZ talked to Jan Roncelli, the Bloomfield Township clerk with 16 years of experience on the job. She agrees: this was a major mistake.

“If you put anything through the mail these days, you cannot count on when it’s going to be delivered," Roncelli said. "But these lists could easily be scanned or emailed from the county.”

While mail delays are widespread, Meltzer says she’s committed to spreading the word about what happened to prevent problems in the future. So far, we have not confirmed any similar cases in other parts of Macomb County.

“This was a very important role the county clerk needed to perform and failed to perform,” Meltzer said. "Since I’ve been a clerk for eight years, that’s not happened."

WXYZ reached out to county clerk Fred Miller for his response but so far haven’t heard back.