Repeat of an article published in DETROIT FREE PRESS
MACKINAC ISLAND –
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson argued with Democratic consultant Donna Brazile
Johnson and Brazile argued over voter fraud at a Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference session Wednesday night. Michigan Secretary of State Johnson was the first person from the audience to ask a question after the session featuring Brazile and Tucker Eskew, who was a top aide to former Republican President George W. Bush. The panel on the 2012 election was moderated by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., now an NBC analyst.
Michigan Government Secretary Johnson asked Brazile, who is vice chair of voter registration and participation for the Democratic National Committee, if she was concerned about election integrity, citing a recent Michigan auditor general report that said records showed voting by about 1,500 dead people and prisoners between October 2008 and June 2011.
Johnson asked Brazile if she favored laws like ones she has pushed requiring photo ID for ballot-related issues, provided such requirements are accompanied by a safety feature that allows people without ID to vote if they swear an affidavit.
Brazile said she opposes impediments to people voting. “Your job is not just to clean up the election process but make sure every eligible citizen in this state can vote,” she told the Michigan Secretary of State.
• Live video and tweets from the Mackinac Policy Conference that sparked repeated follow-up attempts by Johnson before she was cut off by Ford, who cited time constraints.
Still, it was a surprise that Johnson raised the May report by Michigan Auditor General Thomas McTavish as evidence of voter fraud, since her officials told both the auditor general and the media, after the report was released, that every instance McTavish cited was the result of errors by local clerks, not fraudulent voting.
In an interview with the Free Press today, Johnson backed away from those earlier statements.
“I can’t say unequivocally,” that none of the cases resulted from fraud, Johnson said, and the clerical errors revealed “a vulnerability in the system.”
The Michigan Secretary of State also said today that a recent study showed 164,000 people registered to vote in both Michigan and another state and a few people were shown to have voted in both Florida and Michigan.
“I was very disappointed that she didn’t answer the question,” Johnson said of Brazile.