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Election Integrity News Blog


Michigan Fair Elections (MFE), one of many Election Referees nationwide

By Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub | January 25, 2024

As the Detroit Lions prepare to face off against the San Francisco 49ers, referees are poring over their rule books. After all, their job is to stop one side from using a false start, an illegal block, offensive holding, or an illegal snap to gain unfair advantage. With each team vying to win, fans know they cannot trust each team to follow all of the rules and regulations independently. The fans rely on the referees to keep the game fair—to provide strict nonpartisan and independent adherence to the rules. So too it is with elections.

As states across the nation prepare for the 2024 election, “referees” are also preparing. Many laws, from federal and state laws to county ordinances, regulate elections..

Just as referees point out illegal football moves and dole out penalties to ensure a fair game, election referees are honor-bound to ensure a fair election, the foundation of this great constitutional republic. The rules aren’t complex. One principle underpins each election law: Each and only eligible citizens may cast one ballot and have it counted. 

Meet Michigan Fair Elections (MFE), one of many election referees nationwide.

Prior to the 2020 election, non-governmental organizations poured rivers of cash into get-out-the-vote drives. Some were held on public university campuses, including Grand Valley State University. Federal laws regulate who can sponsor voter registration drives; federal laws regulate that they be held in a nondiscriminatory manner; federal laws regulate whose money and in what amounts these funds may be spent on these initiatives—all to keep the election game fair.

May the government select the people’s candidates?

No, says the law.

May large corporations covertly collude with the government to manipulate public opinion for one party? 

No, says the law.

May dead people vote? The unborn vote? Non-citizens vote?

No, no, and no.

Just as football players face penalties if they violate the rules of the game, so, too, can election officials be held accountable for ignoring the laws. The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), for example, throws a penalty flag in the amount of $2,500 per violation--multiply that by 5.5 million registered Michigan voters, and a violator can be talking real money.

MFE is sponsoring a lawsuit in Minneapolis arguing that the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is violating the DPPA due to its access to and sharing the personal private information of drivers—including minors and those who decline to register. Then the ERIC agreement allows the state to share this legally protected information with undisclosed “contractors, subcontractors and agents” of its choosing.

Volunteers from MFE investigated the voter drives at Grand Valley State University and saw how these drives went against federal law. MFE took action and filed a complaint against the Secretary of State (who is constitutionally empowered and mandated to make sure elections follow the strict bounds of election law). The complaint that was filed is called a HAVA (“Help America Vote Act”) complaint.

MFE filed this complaint because, when the top election official for the state of Michigan does not self-regulate, a referee is needed.

These are but two of the instances in which MFE has interceded on behalf of We the People to monitor election integrity. In a perfect world election officials would follow all the laws; in a perfect world all football players would follow all the regulations.

The most effective way for MFE to ensure election integrity right now is through counter lawfare. New election laws were passed that countless citizens believe to violate the United States Constitution, the Michigan Constitution, and federal election laws.

MFE has filed a lawsuit in Michigan; HAVA complaints in Michigan and Pennsylvania; and a lawsuit in Minnesota. Each complaint/lawsuit was meticulously researched and drafted to ensure the restoration of election integrity according to the law.

MFE filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court, rendering a different opinion about why a government should not be permitted, based on the U.S. Constitution’s Electors Clause, to keep a candidate’s name off the ballot. Otherwise, the government will be able to start choosing candidates.

Each of these issues needs a referee because election officials throughout the country are making decisions that are or have the ability to compromise or sway elections. In this constitutional republic, there is one legal vote for each legal voter. Period.

The referee for the HAVA Complaint is the Secretary of State. Imagine: the complaint against the Secretary of State is supposed to be adjudicated by the Secretary of State. That’s what the federal law says and so that’s where MFE filed the HAVA complaint. Ironic. Perhaps we Michiganders may petition for Jared Goff, quarterback for Detroit Lions, to be Sunday’s referee.

The good news is there are processes, guaranteed by law, to remedy issues.

MFE has not run out of energy to keep fighting; MFE has not run out of volunteers to keep working; but MFE’s coffers are low. MFE needs financial support to appeal the HAVA complaint and other lawsuits.

After Sunday’s game there will be many more football games, each one interesting and fair. But if we don’t financially support and work for election integrity, there may be no more free and fair elections in our country. Thank you.


Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves as MFE’s director of communications. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney.


Please donate to Michigan Fair Elections. 

MFE is a fiercely independent, tax-exempt 501(c)3 charity. We rely on voluntary contributions to fund our important, and sometimes costly, work. Legal claims are sometimes essential to improve the government and protect citizen rights, and they can be expensive.

Please support MFE's investigative research, honest journalism, and litigative actions to defend We the People's inalienable rights as protected in the U.S. Constitution. Donate today to assist our educational efforts to protect the principles of individual liberty in America.


News @ Noon: MFE Coalition Task Force Meeting

Join us Thursdays for

MFE's Coalition Task Force Meetings, 12-1 PM

Tune in for MFE’s weekly Coalition Task Force meetings. The next meeting is Thurs, February 1st at 12 PM.

Registration is needed to attend each meeting. A Registration link for the meeting will be posted each week in the MFE blogs and emails.

Please note: No representatives of the media are allowed in our meetings.


WANTED: Poll Challengers and Election Inspectors

Pure Integrity Michigan Elections (PIME) is renewing its participation in the statewide Election Protection Team to make sure cities and towns across the Mitten State have an equal partisan balance of election inspectors and poll challengers, as the law requires.

If you are interested in becoming an election inspector or poll challenger, fill out the form at: Once you sign up, you will be emailed a list of poll challenger trainings.

All poll challengers must attend at least one training to be placed at a location in 2024.  To register, click on one of the Training Schedule links below. If you cannot attend one of these training sessions, more will be scheduled for February.

Virtual (Zoom) Training Schedule

  • Thursday, January 25th at 6:30 pm (RSVP here

  • Monday, January 29th at 1:00 pm (RSVP here

  • Wednesday, January 31st at 7:00 pm (RSVP here)

  • Thursday, February 1st at 11:00 am (RSVP here)

  • Monday, February 5th at 1:00 pm (RSVP here)

  • Wednesday, February 7th at 7:00 PM  (RSVP here)

  • Thursday, February 8th at 11:00 AM (RSVP here)

  • Monday, February 12th at 1:00 PM (RSVP here)

  • Wednesday, February 14th at 7:00 PM (RSVP here)

  • Thursday, February 15th at 11:00 AM (RSVP here)

  • Monday, February 19th at 1:00 PM (RSVP here

  • Wednesday, February 21 at 7:00 PM (RSVP here

  • Monday, February 26 at 1:00 PM (RSVP here)


Mark your calendars to attend Election Integrity Network's outstanding national working groups. Consider also serving as liaison to report to MFE's Task Force Coalition on our Thursday meetings.  

  • Citizen Research Project | Ned Jones, EIN

  • Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Election Technology | Jim Womack, NCEIT

  • Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 4 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Introduction to Election Integrity Infrastructure | Kerri Toloczko and Ned Jones, EIN

  • Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Vote By Mail / USPS | Ned Jones, EIN

  • Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 4 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Legislative Development | Kathleen Harms, TN

  • Every Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Voter Roll Maintenance | Willard Helander, EIN

  • Every Wednesday at 4 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Vulnerable Voters | Kerri Toloczko, EIN

  • Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 4 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Every 1st Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Election Audits | Mike Raisch

  • Every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 4 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Building Local Task Forces | Joshua Taylor

  • Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE

  • Media Training | Kerri Toloczko

  • Every 1st Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET)

  • Register HERE


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Michigan Fair Elections. Artificial intelligence may have been used in the creation of this message or in the links referenced herein.

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