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Michigan elections FAQ video: ‘Bloated’ voter rolls, Trump odds in Detroit

Bridge election FAQ graphic
Bridge reporters Isabel Lohman, Lauren Gibbons and Simon Schuster led our latest Elections FAQ show.
  • Bridge Michigan is answering reader questions through our Elections FAQ series, including a weekly video show
  • In latest episode, political reporter Simon Schuster discussed Trump in Detroit and a GOP lawsuit over Michigan voter rolls
  • Reporter Lauren Gibbons answered questions about immigration and the partisan breakdown of disqualified candidates

Does Michigan really have bloated voter rolls? What’s the reality of immigration in the state? What do political campaigns spend all that money on? And are election officials disqualifying more Republicans or Democrats?

Bridge Michigan reporters on Wednesday answered those and other questions during our latest Elections FAQ live show. Watch the YouTube video below. Got a question of your own? Ask it here and register to join our next show on Monday.

Reporter Simon Schuster began the episode by discussing former President Donald Trump’s recent campaign stop in Detroit and what his attempt to woo Black voters means for the November election. Lauren Gibbons also discussed her recent reporting on the big role farmers may play in the U.S. Senate election. 

Then, they answered several reader questions, including: 

Is it true that there are more registered voters than there are eligible voters in Michigan?

Long story short: Yes, at least “on paper.” As of this spring, Michigan had 8.1 million registered voters but the Census Bureau estimated the state has about 7.9 million voting-age residents. 

That said, the Michigan Bureau of Elections plans to cancel hundreds of thousands of registrations but can’t do so immediately due to federal law. There are about 7 million “active” voters in the state, according to the Bureau. 



The Republican National Committee sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over this issue, arguing she is not doing enough to clean the voter rolls. Her attorneys say the state is following applicable laws and is seeking dismissal.

As Schuster put it: Michigan voter rolls “do appear bloated at face value, but a lot of this has to do with federal rules.”

Immigration has been a huge topic on the campaign trail. What do we know about how Michigan immigrants affect the state economy and social services?

Gibbons noted her recent reporting on Trump immigration claims in Grand Rapids and noted President Joe Biden’s election-year actions to try and tighten border security and provide undocumented spouses a path to legal residency. 

As for the impact immigrants had, she highlighted a recent report estimating that Michigan immigrants held $23 billion in spending power in 2022 and paid billions in state and federal taxes that year. 

“And that's not nothing, especially when considering Michigan is facing lagging population growth, and officials are really spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to get more people to live here,” Gibbons said. 

Millions of dollars are being spent on these campaigns. How do they spend it and who benefits?

Media companies that run political ads certainly benefit from the “enormous inundation” of campaign season ad spending, Schuster noted. But campaigns also spent vast sums on the infrastructure needed to run an effective ground game, he said. 

Spending keeps “going up election cycle after election cycle,” said Schuster, who has covered campaign finance extensively. “Each election becomes the most expensive in Michigan's history, one after another.” 

Regarding candidate disqualifications, how many were Republicans and how many were Democrats? 

As Bridge recently reported, state and local election officials disqualified 27 candidates from the August primary ballot this year. From a historical perspective, that was a lot of disqualifications, but it was actually fewer than in 2022, when 48 candidates were disqualified. 


Gibbons broke down that data further to answer this reader question: In 2022, 24 of the 35 candidates disqualified from partisan primaries were Republicans. This year, however, nine of the 14 were Democrats. 

Bonus questions: Watch the video above to see Bridge reporters answer additional live viewer questions about the potential for Biden or Trump to drop out of the presidential race, debate over setting age limits for presidential candidates and what constitutes a “fair” election. 

Our next Elections FAQ live show is Monday at 11:30 a.m. Register now to join, and submit questions in advance using this form.

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