Michigan local government leaders remain confident about their election security and administration, though concerns about disinformation increase

September 2022

This report presents the opinions of Michigan’s township and city leaders on issues related to election administration in their jurisdictions, including confidence in election security and expected problems their jurisdictions might encounter. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the spring 2022 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), conducted between April 4 and June 6, 2022—prior to the August 2022 primary. It also contains comparisons to opinions expressed in the 2020 MPPS wave.

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Key findings

  • When asked in spring 2022 to look ahead to the November election, Michigan township and city officials are now more confident in their jurisdiction’s election security and ability to administer an accurate election than they were when asked a similar question in 2020.
    • Regarding election security, 85% are “very” confident that their jurisdiction’s final vote results, voting machines, and voter rolls will not be compromised, up significantly from the 63% who were very confident in all three aspects of election security in 2020. Meanwhile, 11% are “somewhat” confident, and just 2% are outright “not very” confident or “not at all” confident.
    • Local officials are also more confident today that they would know if their election was compromised. This year, 78% are very confident they would know whether their voting machines, voter rolls, or vote tallies were compromised, up sharply from 58% in 2020.
    • Overall, 92% are very confident in their jurisdiction’s ability to administer an accurate election in November, up from 87% in 2020.
  • The percentage of local officials who anticipate problems in 2022 regarding poll worker errors, equipment malfunctions, and voter registration list inaccuracies have all decreased substantially compared to 2020. Concerns about poll worker recruitment have also declined, though still nearly a third (32%) of city and township officials say it is a problem.
    • Officials from the state’s larger jurisdictions are more likely to anticipate problems in these areas, compared with those from smaller communities.
  • Meanwhile, concerns over potential disturbances at polling places have risen slightly, with 9% statewide now expecting disturbances to be a problem, including over a quarter (27%) of local leaders from the state’s largest jurisdictions (those with more than 30,000 residents). Also, nearly one in five (19%) statewide now say intentional disinformation about voting targeted at their jurisdiction’s citizens is a problem, including 29% from the largest jurisdictions.
  • Despite overwhelming certainty that their own elections will be accurate, just over half of local officials statewide (52%) believe their own residents are very confident in the accuracy of their community’s elections. However, few (5%) say their residents are outright not very confident or not confident at all.