National Study Praises Michigan Elections

Pew Center calls state consistent ‘high performer’

LANSING, Mich. – The Pew Center, a nationally recognized research organization, today praised Michigan’s elections systems as a “high performer” based on multiple objective measures of election performance, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced.

“It’s no secret that Michigan has an excellent elections system and that’s thanks to all of the hard work of our state’s county, city and township election officials,” Johnson said. “But this national praise shouldn’t be a reason to stop improving. We can make Michigan the best by passing full online voter registration and secure absentee voting in the Legislature.”

Michigan would have scored even higher if two key reforms proposed by Johnson gained the support of the Legislature. Johnson continues to work with lawmakers to approve expanded secure online voter registration and allowing voters to cast an absentee ballot without having to mark a reason if they show identification at the clerk’s office.

Michigan received partial credit for online voter registration because already residents who are registered to vote in the state can update their voter registration address online at

Johnson thanked lawmakers for approving post-election audits, which boosted Michigan’s score. She called for the audits shortly after taking office in 2011 as a way to ensure local election officials are following state law and best practices when administering local elections. More than 1,000 audits have taken place.

Pew election researchers in particular complimented Michigan for data completeness, reducing the number of reported absentee ballot issues and for having more ballots from military and overseas voters returned and accepted.

The Pew study calculated and averaged a state’s overall performance by measuring more than a dozen separate indicators that make up the overall score. The indicators include absentee ballots rejected or unreturned; data completeness; disability- or illness-related voting problems; military and overseas ballots rejected or unreturned; online registration availability; post-election audit required; provisional ballots cast; provisional ballots rejected; registration or absentee ballot problems; voting information look-up tools; and voting technology accuracy.

Similar Pew Center reports for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles also called Michigan a “high-performer.”

The Pew Center report can be viewed online.