MACOMB COUNTY (WXYZ) — Soon after the Clinton Township clerk spoke out about absentee votes of dead people being mistakenly counted, state lawmakers began reaching out to 7 Action News to say its time for change.
“The saying goes dead men don’t talk, but in Macomb County evidently dead men do talk,” that's what Clinton Township clerk Kim Meltzer told 7 Action News' Simon Shaykhet Wednesday when we first broke the story.
That was Meltzer's response to an alarming discovery on Nov. 9, days after the election. In an exclusive interview, she told 7 Action News the Macomb COunty clerk's office delayed mailing her death certificates of people who had passed away between Oct. 9 and 26.
The result was their 10 absentee votes sent out before their deaths was still counted, which is a violation of Michigan law.
“There just wasn’t enough notification early enough to make sure voters who cast ballots early and passed away, didn’t have their votes counted,” said Rep. Darren Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.).
State Rep. Camilleri caught the 7 Action News story and says while this was no conspiracy, there was negligence on the part of the county clerk relying on traditional mail instead of fax, email or phone call must not be repeated.
He's now prepared to work on a bipartisan solution to require faster communication within a day, by the state or county.
“It should be very easy to make sure we ensure quick notification of voters who passed away, from the county clerks to local clerks as quickly as possible,” Camilleri said.
While rules differ from state to state, State Sen. Ruth Johnson, a former Michigan Secretary of State, also agrees.
“We will be looking at any way to expedite that and get the information,” Johnson said.
This wasn't fraud, but a mistake that can be corrected by passing a new law.
“We’ll look into making sure that like in other communities, the information does get there in time to the clerk so that can stop that ballot,” she said.
In response to the 7 Action News story, Macomb County Clerk Fred Miller, who denied an interview request, released the below statement.