Michigan's GOP is calling for an audit in the 2020 election because "70% of the Detroit absentee counting boards were out of balance". Do we know how far out of balance they were? I mean, there's a big difference between being 5 votes off and 5000 votes off.

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The Detroit Free Press reports in GOP members reverse course, vote to certify Wayne County election results, November 18, 2020.

Republican members of board focus on unexplained discrepancies

Of Detroit's 503 Election Day precincts, 85 recorded unexplained discrepancies in the vote totals as did 94 of the city's 134 absent voter counting boards. The majority of Election Day precincts and absent voter counting boards that were not in "balance," recorded discrepancies of three votes or less. Ten Election Day precincts and 43 absent voter counting boards recorded discrepancies of four or more votes. The discrepancies amount to roughly 400 votes. Detroit's unofficial election results show roughly 250,000 Detroiters voted in November's election. [Emboldening added.]

Under Michigan election law, a precinct that is not in “balance” is disqualified from participating in a recount, and the election results originally reported by the precinct stand as final.

Note carefully the last paragraph.

An "out of balance" condition is described in ML 168.871 (1)(b) and below. Clause (3) states that votes, ineligible under (1)(b), "shall be taken as correct."

(1) The board of canvassers conducting a recount pursuant to this chapter shall recount all ballots of a precinct using an electronic voting system unless 1 or more of the following circumstances exist:

(b) The number of ballots to be recounted and the number of ballots issued on election day as shown on the poll list or the computer printout do not match and the difference is not explained to the satisfaction of the board of canvassers.

(3) If a board of canvassers conducting a recount pursuant to this chapter determines that the ballots of a precinct are not eligible for recount under this section, the original return of the votes for that precinct shall be taken as correct.

From the Associated Press in Minor discrepancies at heart of GOP effort to overturn vote, November 19, 2020.


A: A precinct is said to be out of balance when the total number of ballots tabulated and the total number of voters who were issued a ballot do not agree. Fixes include verifying that all absentee ballots have been processed and tabulated by going through return envelopes and verifying that every absentee voter is included in the poll book total.

“Somebody opened the ballots and counted them,” said Michael Traugott, a research professor in the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan. “They know how many ballots there were. Then they counted the votes for the candidates, and they don’t match exactly.”

The Republican canvassers “got hung up about the city of Detroit,” Traugott said.

  • It's still not clear what "out-of-balance" means. Perhaps if you could take one of the 85 election day precincts and illustrate what an "out-of-balance" condition looks like.
    – BobE
    Nov 22, 2020 at 3:42

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