The Michigan elections bureau has issued a warning about problems with a new Democratic Party program that lets voters apply online for absentee ballots, saying clerks are getting applications for voters who live outside the jurisdiction and signatures that do not match voter records. The late Monday alert to local election administrators statewide, obtained by The Associated Press, also cites concerns about duplicate applications and applications without signatures. “These issues raise concerns with the program’s accuracy and reliability and place unsuspecting voters in jeopardy of being disenfranchised,” according to the memo that describes the program as “unapproved” and asks clerks to quickly report problems to the state. The elections bureau is housed within Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s department, which confirmed to the AP that the alert had been sent.
“Please know that the program was implemented without prior notice to the Bureau of Elections (BOE) and has not been subjected to review and testing by technical experts within BOE,” the bureau wrote to clerks. “BOE is currently gathering information about this program, but several potential problems have already been identified.”
State Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson defended the program Tuesday, saying it is working “extremely well, as it did in our rigorous testing over months.” The party will improve the program and address any problems, he said. “We will be contacting the state shortly to address any outstanding concerns with our digital AV ballot application program,” Johnson said in a statement.