Voter registration rolls are often a mess, reflecting as they do the fact that "contact the election clerk and tell them grandma has passed" isn't on most people's to-do list following a death in the family. Nevertheless, Republicans are using this to beat up on Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and her recent efforts to inform Michigan voters they can vote absentee, for no particular reason, in August and November.
The Detroit News reports that absentee ballot applications addressed to dead people are "raising Republican hackles" and have them "demanding answers" from Benson's office:
[Former Secretary of State Ruth] Johnson, now a state senator from Holly who chairs the upper chamber's election committee, is criticizing Benson’s massive ballot application outreach that has led to mailings to dead or moved individuals, even those temporarily listed in an inactive voter file, over concerns they may not be valid voters.
In an email paid for by the Michigan Republican Party, Johnson asked voters to contact her office if they'd received an application for someone who had since moved or passed away.
Benson argues that it’s likely the mass mailing will help the state to discover those moved or deceased individuals and begin the process of removing them from the qualified voter file. She also maintains signature verifications that have long been in place for the ballots and applications prevent voter fraud.
Others quoted in the story say this happens literally all the time, but the fact it happened as the result of such a large mailing gives it a higher profile.
Over the weekend, a contingent of Republicans in west Michigan held a public burning of ballot applications.