Pauline Schmainda died in 1990, but her name remains on Michigan’s list of registered voters 33 years after her death.

Mary Stislicki would be 110 years old if she was alive today, but she died in 1997 and also remains on the state’s voter rolls.

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It’s the same deal for Dennis Phleeger, who remains eligible to vote 25 years after his death.

Those registered voters are among 26,000 deceased residents Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has refused to remove from the state’s active voter list, despite an ongoing 2021 lawsuit from the Public Interest Legal Foundation outlining how her inaction violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

“Michigan election officials can’t escape these problems. PILF is documenting them to show the public no one should remain on the voter rolls for two decades following their death,” Lauren Bis, PILF’s director of communications, said in a recent documentary outlining the issue.

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On Tuesday, PILF filed an appellate brief with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to overturn a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Jane Beckering in March that found Michigan makes an effort to remove ineligible voters on a “regular and ongoing basis,” The Federalist reports.

Beckering, appointed by President Joe Biden, dismissed PILF’s lawsuit, which also aimed to depose Benson, a member of her staff, and the Electronic Registration Information Center, an organization founded by liberal activist David Becker that Michigan uses to manage its voter rolls.

The lawsuit centers on Section 8 of the Voting Rights Act that requires states to make “a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.”

Benson, according to PILF’s appeal, “seeks to evade scrutiny by relying on something labeled a ‘program’ to remove deceased registrants, no matter how ineffective.”

“Section 8’s reasonableness requirement does not ask if a state list maintenance program exists, but how it is performing,” the appeal reads. “The proof should be in the pudding, and Michigan’s defense that it has a program, no matter how shoddy, is not what Congress intended or enacted.”

PILF is asking the appeals court to rule Benson violated the transparency obligations in Section 8, “reverse and remand this case to the district court,” and to allow its requested dispositions “so the complete picture and truth about the Secretary’s list maintenance programs can be ascertained.”

The deceased voters, however, are only one element that has contributed to Michigan’s bloated voter rolls, which now have 8.1 million registered voters for a voting age population of 7.9 million, or 102.8% of the number of legal voters.

PILF’s appeal came the same day the Republican National Committee sent a letter to Benson, urging her to remove nearly 92,000 inactive voters from the state’s permanent mail ballot list.

“Michigan’s failure to maintain its permanent mail ballot list in compliance with the law has created a system which is open to fraud. With almost 92,000 inactive voters slated to automatically receive mail ballots, this is a direct threat to a secure vote,” RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said.

The RNC letter also noted how Benson’s Election Officials’ Manual dealing with absentee voting conflicts with state law, which mandates removal from the permanent mail ballot list if voters have changed their address or not cast a ballot for six consecutive years.

“In other words, the Election Officials’ Manual suggests that a clerk can remove a voter from the permanent mail ballot list but isn’t required to do so,” the letter read. “That suggestion is contrary to the plain language of the Michigan Election Law.”

Despite evidence showing the 91,928 inactive voters should be removed from the permanent mail ballot list, they “must be issued an absent voter ballot” under state law because that hasn’t happened.

“Tens of thousands of absentee ballots will this be sent to voters at addresses where they no longer reside or to voters who are otherwise ineligible to receive them, creating the potential for thousands of absentee ballots to be cast fraudulently,” the RNC wrote.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Pete Hoekstra emphasized the state’s key role as a battleground state in 2024, and what Benson’s inaction could mean for 2024.

“Michigan is ground zero for November’s election,” Hoekstra said. “There’s no excuse for our Secretary of State to operate with inaccurate and old mail ballot lists that are out of compliance with our laws. Updating our permanent mail ballot list is crucial to maintaining Michigan’s election integrity and having a secure vote this November.”

Benson, meanwhile, is campaigning for President Biden while casting the Secretary of State as the temple of truth.

Benson told WOOD last week the Secretary of State works hard to “make sure ineligible citizens are removed from the rolls when then become ineligible or pass away.

“That’s one of the things we’re doing because transparency is our friend,” she alleged.

At the same time, Benson’s office is backing bills moving through the Michigan Legislature that Senate Legislative Analyst Abby Schneider said “would hinder the ability of candidates aggrieved by fraud to request recounts, reducing the trust in the election process.”

The bills eliminate the current ability of bipartisan elections boards to investigate fraud during recounts, which Schneider said “would prevent bad actors from being held accountable and erode confidence in the State’s election process.”

The PILF lawsuit is among many others that have targeted Benson for protecting the state’s inflated voter rolls, her advice on “presumed validity” of absentee voter signatures, and efforts to circumvent the state’s rules making process for elections.