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Election Integrity News Blog


Shooting the Messenger

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Shooting the Messenger

by Patrice Johnson

When Anne Hill requested a copy of East Lansing, Michigan’s voter rolls, she little suspected she could be stepping into a snake pit of phantom voters. The quiet, intellectual blond with a ready smile had no inkling of the public attacks she was about to endure for bringing the facts to light. Then Hill found 9,000 ineligible voters on East Lansing’s official voter rolls. A full 36% of the city’s 26,000 voter registrants should not be on the rolls. Worse, 1,935 (21%) of those ineligible registrants voted in the 2020 election, and their ballots were counted. Turns out, the establishment found Hill’s discoveries a bit too itchy and scratchy.

Hill’s venture into the politics of personal destruction began in the autumn of 2020. The 16-year resident of East Lansing was volunteering on behalf of her neighborhood to work on a housing study of the City. Her efforts had alerted her to the public availability of the state’s official voter registration system through the Freedom of Information Act, which assures government transparency through the guarantee of public access to most government records.

“I FOIAed East Lansing’s Qualified Voter File and started doing a street-by-street, property-by-property study of East Lansing,” said Hill, who holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Soon after receiving and opening the dataset of the Mich. Qualified Voter File, called the QVF, Hill began to see “oddities and anomalies” in the city, home to Michigan State University.

Fifty registered voters were listed as residing at non-existent addresses along a non-existent, street, Cherry Lane. “Fifteen of those registrants voted absentee in 2020,” Hill recalls.

She contacted the elections clerk. Maybe the residents were out-of-country military, the clerk speculated.

Hill checked. Only one of the voters met the age criteria for active military service. A drive to the site, and she found a park. Signage indicated Cherry Lane had passed through there until its demolition in 2011, 12 years ago.

Fifteen (15) alleged residents inexplicably voted absentee in 2020 from non-existent addresses along this non-existent street in East Lansing, Mich. A park now stands where Cherry Lane, demolished in 2011, was once lined with faculty housing and apartments. As of November 2020, 50 registered voters were listed as residing along the 12-year-gone Cherry Lane, turned park.

This historical marker confirms that faculty housing and apartments once populated Cherry Lane, a street demolished in 2011 and converted into a park.

Out of curiosity, Hill turned her attention to the university’s dormitories. She called the Assistant Vice President for Community Relations, Government Relations, and the person confirmed that 22 of MSU’s 28 dormitories were closed due to COVID during 2020. They were “lights out.” No one could possibly have lived in these buildings during the months leading up to and through the election. All residents of these dorms were forced to leave, “and no mail could be delivered.” Still, the QVF showed 1,738 voter registrants recorded as living at these closed dorms, and 276 of these registrants cast counted ballots. 

Hill sorted the addresses of the local fraternities, sororities, and co-ops. The voters registered as residing in these student housing organizations tallied to 526. A check of their ages revealed that 342 of these registrants were 40 or more years of age. Clearly, none of these old-timers still lived in these houses.

To Hill’s surprise, 11 middle-aged females, ranging from 48 to 53, were registered as living at a male fraternity house. No way.

Hill’s heart sank to see that 50 of these ghost dwellers had voted in the 2020 election.

What was going on?

Hill dug in. Over the course of the next six months, she researched East Lansing’s official rolls. As she verified her findings with alternate, credible data sources like obituaries and deed transfer records, her laundry list of anomalies grew to include:

·      1,472 votes from 5,713 voter registrants who no longer lived at the QVF-recorded address

·      85 votes attributed to registrants listed as living at residences sold prior to Sept. 30, 2020. (One registrant sold their home in 2003, two homes were sold in 2013 and their mailing address was in Germany.) 

·      5 votes from deceased persons. (Their skeletal remains had the courtesy to vote absentee.)

Hill became a supporter of Pure Integrity Michigan Elections (PIME) and the Election Integrity Force and Fund (EIF). She provided walk lists for volunteer canvassers who knocked on doors and collected stacks of affidavits proving duplicate, moved, and deceased registrants were still on the voter rolls and often voting. On their first walk, the volunteers knocked on 71 doors and interviewed 35 residents. They came away with 23 resident-signed affidavits, attesting to anomalies in the state's official vote records. One volunteer snapped a photo and filled out an affidavit of an address that didn’t exist yet was recorded as housing registered voters.

During the Ingham team's first door-knocking walk in East Lansing, volunteers knocked on 71 doors and interviewed 35 residents. As the above summary shows, they came away with two dozen resident-signed affidavits, attesting to anomalies in the state's official vote records.

On May 14, 2022, PIME and EIF published the LIGHTS OUT: Voter Roll Anomalies during the 2020 election, East Lansing, Michigan by Anne Hill. 

Strange things began to happen.

On April 7 and 8, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum went on the attack in both local television and online news. “If someone comes to your door asking how you voted, my recommendation would be to slam that door in their face,” she said. (See Ingham County warns of “election integrity” scams.) Byrum's dire warnings implied nefarious conduct. In truth, the canvassers’ how-you-voted question was simply asking residents if they had voted. If so, did they vote in person or absentee?

In July, two months after the publication of Lights Out, a local community newsletter lost its editor. Hill, who had long helped produce East Lansing Info (ELI) on a volunteer basis, was appointed by unanimous vote to its board of directors and asked to serve as its interim editor. Despite her already busy schedule, Hill agreed to shoulder the extra burden.

Social media erupted. City Pulse, a local tabloid, published East Lansing Info installs election denier as interim executive director. The hit piece stated,

The outcry on social media and a complaint sent to ELI’s contact portal raised concerns about Hill’s work to discredit East Lansing’s 2020 election through work with Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections, an organization with ties to Trump-endorsed candidates that claims to be working for more secure elections in the state. Her work with the group included authoring a May 14, 2022, report accusing East Lansing election officials of counting nearly 2,000 improper or illegal ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

No matter that ELI had received only one complaint or that Lights Out had published only well documented facts. The report made no accusations, only recommendations. No matter that PIME had no “ties to Trump-endorsed candidates.”

“It seems like I have hit a nerve with the report,” Hill wrote in an email to this writer.

PIME responded in Hill’s defense:

Dear Editor,

In a recent online report by East Lansing Info, the character of Anne Hill was indirectly questioned. 

Your opening paragraph set the tone when stating a community member submitted a concern about Hill's appointment. A concern about what? Her gender? Her faith? Her offering to work as a volunteer like everyone else at ELI?  

“Claiming that Hill's work in East Lansing and her compilation of voter irregularities was enough to elicit a few ‘specific concerns,’ the article continues to offer a one-sided, bilious push against her. 

Anne Hill is a hard-working, intelligent and meticulous researcher and doesn't pick sides. A few moments studying her report, Lights Out, would provide ample evidence of support. 

Why didn't the writers of the article offer her a chance to address the concerns?  

Your readers expect more.

No good deed goes unpunished. The ELI board, scared out of its snowflake wits, rescinded Hill’s appointment.

Today, more than month after the bruhaha, Hill remains undeterred. She has expanded her meticulous research to include other vicinities. Three factors alone are generating plenty of fodder for additional reports:

1) Michigan is home to 77 colleges and universities,

2) The number of registered voters in Michigan has skyrocketed beyond 104% of its voting-aged residents every since Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined the state in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), and

3) The City of East Lansing received $200,000 funding from private, outside sources including the Center for Technology & Civic Life funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2020.

Meanwhile, Hill plans to share her process with others and provide patriots statewide with a handbook for analyzing, step-by-step, their local voter rolls.

“I’m glad I took the time to think through the pros and cons before giving the go to publish Lights Out,” Hill said. “I have no regrets about that decision.”

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