Lawsuit claims Michigan risks fraud, as county has more registered voters than people who can vote

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EXCLUSIVE: A voter filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater and other officials, claiming that in at least 16 counties voter rolls have not been properly maintained and that this leaves them vulnerable to fraud in November's election.

Tony Daunt, a Republican active in his state and county parties, alleges that the Michigan voter registration rates in these counties are “suspiciously high” because their voting records have not been cleaned out to remove ineligible voters, including those who have died, moved, or been convicted of felonies.

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“Retaining voter rolls bloated with ineligible voters harms the electoral process, heightens the risk of electoral fraud, and undermines public confidence in elections,” says Daunt’s complaint, which was filed in federal court in the Western District of Michigan.

The lawsuit cited data compiled by the Honest Elections Project, which includes information from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014-18 American Community Survey and the latest count of registered voters from Benson’s office.

In one county, the number of registered voters actually exceeded the number of people of voting age.

“Comparing the registered voter count to the 2014-18 American Community Survey reveals that Leelanau County has a registration rate of 102%,” the complaint says. In 15 other counties mentioned in the lawsuit, that percentage is above 90 percent.

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Daunt claims that a failure to remove ineligible names from the voter rolls could result in voter fraud, even a small amount of which could impact close elections. In 2016, President Trump won Michigan by just 0.4 percent.

The lawsuit asserts that the state has an obligation to resolve this issue under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). The NVRA allows individuals to notify state officials of voter registration record problems, and to sue them if reasonable action is not taken within 90 days. Daunt sent a letter through attorney William Consovoy – who has represented Trump in a number of matters -- to Benson and Brater in February and claims that they have not taken appropriate measures to maintain accurate records.

“Defendants’ failure to maintain accurate voter rolls violates federal law and jeopardizes the integrity of the upcoming 2020 election,” the complaint says.

Fox News reached out to the secretary of state’s office for comment, but they did not immediately respond.

While Daunt is looking for Michigan to remove names from voter rolls, its practice has also led to intense controversy and legal battles in numerous states.

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The American Civil Liberties Union says cleaning up voter rolls can be a responsible exercise, but some states have used it as “a method of mass disenfranchisement, purging eligible voters from rolls for illegitimate reasons or based on inaccurate data, and often without adequate notice to the voters.”

In February, a Wisconsin court of appeals overturned an order to remove up to 209,000 people fro state voter rolls, as Democrats argued the purge was intended to make it more difficult for their voters to cast ballots in November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.