HELLO, EMILY CALLING
In late August, just about every municipal clerk in Michigan received a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a copy of every ballot cast in the 2016 general election from a mysterious out-of-state requestor named “Emily” from a New York operation called the “United Impact Group.” According to the Washington Free Beacon, United Impact Group is a non-profit arm of Priorities USA, a super PAC which counts George Soros as a top funder. FOIA requests for ballots from previous elections is not a typical request, clerks say, and it looks like currently Michigan is the only state from which “Emily” and United Impact Group is looking to collect voter data. Bloomfield Hills Clerk Amy Burton said she did not receive a FOIA request from the group, and the clerk for Rochester did not respond to our query, but other local clerks acknowledged they did receive one. Rochester Hills Clerk Tina Barton said she had received it, and expects it will cost the city $62,814.25 to comply. Birmingham City Clerk Cherilynn Mynsberge also received the FOIA request, and said the city is complying. The estimated cost for Birmingham is $9,600. In Bloomfield Township, Deputy Clerk Deana Mondock estimated a total cost of $3,125.32, but denied the request for copies of the ballots, allowing only copies of the absentee ballot applications and envelopes, as the “Township does not have the ability to copy or scan a 19-inch ballot,” and they would have to be sent to a commercial vendor, which the Michigan Bureau of Elections does not allow.