Demario Thurmond, 23, staff with the Detroit Department of Elections collects absentee ballots from a voter during Michigan Primary in Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

Source:   Ashe Schow

The primary in Detroit, Michigan, was so poorly counted that one member of the State Board of Canvassers even asked whether Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson should get involved in November. The board also suggested an investigation into what went wrong.

The Detroit News reported that all “four members of the State Board of Canvassers on Friday blasted problems with counting ballots in Detroit’s primary election as ‘alarming’ and ‘concerning.” Two of the board members are Republicans, one of whom, Norm Shinkle, called for an investigation into the problems the city had counting ballots in the primary.

“I think we need an investigation with a conclusion that somebody else is going to run that election or not,” Shinkle told the outlet.

The Detroit News reported Thursday that Wayne County election data “showed 72% of the absentee voting precincts in Michigan’s largest city had ballot counts that were out of balance by at least one vote for the Aug. 4. primary.” As the outlet explained, this “means the number of voters tracked in precinct poll books did not match the number of ballots counted.”

The outlet further reported that 46% of Detroit’s precincts were out of balance when counting absentee and Election Day votes. The problem is nothing new, as the city also failed to accurately count vote totals in 2015, with 59% of precincts showing out-of-balance totals.

More from The Detroit News:

In 2017, then-Secretary of State Ruth Johnson ordered that the state help retrain election workers and provide other assistance to correct what a Michigan Bureau of Elections audit of 136 Detroit precincts called “significant discrepancies” in votes and “an abundance of human errors.”

Having balanced precincts is particularly important in Michigan because precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted, according to state law.

The Board of State Canvassers was scheduled to certify the statewide results of the Aug. 4 primary on Friday but the virtual meeting stopped after about 30 minutes because of technical issues. The board scheduled a new meeting for 10 a.m. Monday.

Julie Matuzak, a Democrat on the board, called the problems in Detroit “appalling” and suggested a call to the community to recruit new precinct workers.

Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey blamed the primary issues on the fact that there weren’t enough election workers on primary day, forcing some to work more than 20 hours. She also asked the state legislature to allow absentee ballots to be processed before election day to cut down on the number of ballots needed to be counted after the election.

Winfrey also noted, The Detroit News reported, that the ballot totals were three or fewer ballots off.

President Donald Trump has warned of dangers involved with widespread mail-in ballots. Some Democrats have called for increased absentee ballots, while some have suggested simply mailing ballots to all homes, which would allow for significant fraud and uncertainty.

Trump won Michigan by less than 10,000 votes.