Fact Check: Michigan's Removal of 177,000 Voters From Its Rolls Is NOT Proof Of Fraud

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Michigan's Removal of 177,000 Voters From Its Rolls Is NOT Proof Of Fraud Maintenance

Does the fact that Michigan is removing some 177,000 voters from its rolls after the 2020 election prove fraud? No, that's not true: The cancellations are part of routine voter registration list maintenance, according to the secretary of state's office in Michigan. The office said that the voters scheduled for cancellation "did not engage in any voting activity in at least the last two federal election cycles," meaning that they had no impact on the outcome of the 2020 vote.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Gateway Pundit on February 18, 2021. The article, titled "Michigan Removed 177,000 Voters from Voter Rolls in January After Certifying Biden Won Michigan by 154,000 Votes in November", opened:

Michigan now admits after 'certifying' the 2020 Presidential election, that more voters should be removed from their voter rolls than there were votes won by Joe Biden in the race. Mixed with other suspected fraud, (like 141,000 ballot drops at 6am the day after the election) all the ballots in this state should be forensically audited to determine the full extent of the election fraud.

There was so much fraud in Michigan in the 2020 election it is difficult to know where to start.

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Michigan Removed 177,000 Voters from Voter Rolls in January After Certifying Biden Won Michigan by 154,000 Votes in November

Michigan now admits after 'certifying' the 2020 Presidential election, that more voters should be removed from their voter rolls than there were votes won by Joe Biden in the race. Mixed with other suspected fraud, (like 141,000 ballot drops at 6am the day after the election) all the ballots in this state should be forensically...

The article is correct in stating the President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Michigan by roughly 154,000 votes. You can see the state's election results here.

The article is also correct in saying that some 177,000 registrants are expected to be removed from the state's voter files in the wake of the 2020 election. That fact was confirmed in a statement, dated January 28, 2021, from the Michigan secretary of state's office.

But the article is not correct in saying there is anything untoward about the cancellations. By comparing the number of voters who will be removed to Biden's margin of victory in Michigan, the article implies the cancellations are evidence of fraud. They're not.

The cancellations are part of ongoing voter registration list maintenance, according to the secretary of state's office. Its statement connected the purging of inactive voters to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's efforts to review and strengthen election processes. It read:

In support of those efforts, today Benson made publicly available the list of approximately 177,000 voter registrations slated for cancellation because the state has reason to believe the voter has moved away from the registration address. These individuals either surrendered a Michigan Driver's License to another state or had election mail returned undeliverable to an election official prior to the 2018 election. They were sent a notification prior to the 2018 election requiring a response, did not respond to the notice and did not engage in any voting activity in at least the last two federal election cycles (2020 and 2018).

In other words, the voters set to be removed had no impact on the outcome of the 2020 election. That's important context The Gateway Pundit did not include in its article.

At the time of writing, it was not immediately clear whether the 177,000 voter registrations had already been canceled. The statement from the secretary of state's office said that the list was being made public more than one month prior to cancellation so that voters and civic groups would have the chance to respond.

Lead Stories reached out to the Michigan secretary of state's office to ask about the timing of the cancellations. We will update this story, as appropriate, if we receive a response.

Here's Benson, as quoted in the statement:

When carried out transparently, accurately and in accordance with federal law, list maintenance is an important element of ensuring Michigan's election system remains secure ... The work that we are doing now will ensure the list of registered voters, which had gone over a decade without sufficient comprehensive efforts to ensure its accuracy, is updated and modernized with methods to promote integrity and prevent any eligible voter from disenfranchisement.

The article from The Gateway Pundit refers to a previous Gateway Pundit article which alleged video showed late-night deliveries of illegal ballots to a vote-counting center in Detroit, Michigan. Lead Stories has debunked that claim. The ballots were legal votes. The 8 p.m. Election Day deadline was for casting ballots not counting them. The secretary of state's office told Lead Stories that the delivery from polling places to the counting center was "standard and appropriate practice." See our reporting on that story here.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes thegatewaypundit.com as:

A partisan conservative website that regularly publishes hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and unsubstantiated claims, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion