They said that Benson’s office told clerks in Michigan counties to “delete Electronic Poll Book software and associated files” amid calls to audit the election.
They were likely referring to a Dec. 1 memo (pdf) from the Michigan Bureau of Elections, which is overseen by Benson’s office, that states “[Electronic Poll Book] software and associated files must be deleted from all devices by the seventh calendar day following the final canvass and certification of the election (November 30, 2020) unless a petition for recount has been filed and the recount has not been completed, a post-election audit is planned but has not yet been completed, or the deletion of the data has been stayed by an order of the court or the Secretary of State.”
The memo was referring to Electronic Poll Book software and files contained on laptops and USB drives using during the election.
However, the Republican Party flagged the memo and process as concerning.
“Secretary Benson’s move to request the deletion of election data amidst bipartisan calls for an audit is just another example of her putting partisan politics over what’s best for Michigan,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said in a statement Friday.
They noted that due to alleged statewide irregularities, an audit is necessary.
Cox stated: “With election irregularities rampant across the state, it is vital that we have this audit before any election data is deleted. Secretary Benson’s move to delete this data before an audit raises a serious question, what are the Democrats hiding?”
Several weeks ago, Benson, a Democrat, said the state would carry out a “risk-limiting audit.”
“Following the certification of Michigan’s elections, our statewide risk-limiting audit will be paired with comprehensive local audits,” she wrote for the Detroit Free-Press. “A risk-limiting audit is the most statistically reliable method of evaluating the tabulation of ballots in an election. It involves drawing a large random sample of ballots in any given jurisdiction to confirm that, when ballots are visually inspected, the outcomes closely match the results reported by tabulation machines.”