Michigan House Republicans are vowing to fight a bill passed by the Senate that would strip investigatory and subpoena powers from County Boards of Canvassers granted to them in 1955.

The House Election Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on Senate Bills 603 and 604. Testifying on behalf of the bills were bill sponsors Sens. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield.

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According to Chang, “Michigan has seen several recounts where the entity asking for a recount had no mathematical chance of changing the outcome in their favor based on the number of votes requested to be recounted. Also, under current Michigan law, precincts are not allowed to be recounted when the number of voters in poll books doesn’t match the number of ballots in the box, even if there is an explainable human error observed by the election worker, such as the voter walking out before turning in their ballot or the voter going to the wrong polling location.”

According to Senate Legislative Analyst Abby Schneider; “The bills would hinder the ability of candidates aggrieved by fraud to request recounts, reducing trust in the election process. The recount process is designed to ensure the accuracy and fairness of elections. This includes granting bipartisan boards of county canvassers the ability to investigate claims of fraud while conducting recounts. By eliminating this ability, and references to fraud altogether, the bills would prevent bad actors from being held accountable and erode confidence in the State’s election process.”

Reps. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, and Jay DeBoyer, R-Clay Township, told The Midwesterner that they’ll pull no punches to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“Sen. Moss and Sen. Chang absolutely lied and it is it is either willful ignorance or they are just terribly uninformed,” Kunse said. “I mean I don’t know if it’s willful or malicious but they have no idea what they’re talking about.”

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Kunse continued: “Right now the board of canvassers has subpoena power, investigative and subpoena power.” He noted that SB 603 amounts to “cutting all the security provisions regarding ballots. What they’re removing are all of the provisions that allow for security and review of fraud by the board of canvassers,” he said.

“My belief is that no one understands election law better than county clerks and boards of canvassers. First of all what is the problem you’re trying to solve?”

Kunse described the bill as “Kafkaesque.”

“It just boggles my mind. To me, there’s no viable reason to do this, there’s no reason you need to do this to to remove their ability to investigate fraud. We talk about transparency and we talk about safe secure elections. How can you prove fraud if you’re not allowed to investigate fraud?”

DeBoyer served as a county clerk for 12 years and is a current member of the House Elections Committee. He adamantly opposes the Democrats plan.

“Sen. Chang and Sen. Moss said that currently the board of canvassers are nothing but an administerial job,” DeBoyer said. “I said that’s not true, statute provides for their ability to investigate. They doubled down and said I was wrong,” he said.

“What’s their motivation to repeal these items and then lie to my face with regard to the truth?”

DeBoyer noted that he later asked a representative from the Secretary of State’s office if he had misinterpreted the current statute and was told that he was correct.

“It was Chang and Moss who were misrepresenting the facts,” he continued. “They will never say that they were lying, but I’m the guy that will say that they were. It’s easy to misrepresent the facts when you’re dealing with people who don’t know what election law is and that’s what they did successfully on Tuesday.”

DeBoyer said the senators persisted in telling him that we was wrong about SB 603 repealing the authority of canvassers to conduct investigations and issue subpoenas.

“They’re either willfully ignorant or disingenuous, and that’s what I’m going to present on Tuesday. Frankly I don’t know how that will play out. I imagine that the chair won’t be happy but that’s how I’m presenting it.”

The committee is scheduled to vote on SB 603 on May 21.