The Michigan chapter of Cleta Mitchell’s national network of election conspiracy theorists is working with a thinly-sourced “voter integrity” database to engage in potentially intimidating door-to-door canvassing and to flood election offices with voter challenges.

Check My Vote (“CMV”) has put Michigan’s publicly-available voter file online, and conducts a conspiracy-driven “analysis” to identify alleged registration discrepancies. Drawing from that analysis, activists associated with Mitchell’s Election Integrity Network are personally going door-to-door questioning voters about their registration and history, then filing dozens of voter challenges with local elections clerks across the state, according to material obtained by Documented.

As the New York Times reported, based on material provided by Documented, "activists call their project Soles to the Rolls — an apparent play on Souls to the Polls, the get-out-the-vote effort popular in Black churches." It is part of "an all-but-unnoticed effort that could have an impact in a close or contentious election."

Like Eagle AI, the Check My Vote/Soles to the Rolls project is part of a nationwide effort by election deniers and MAGA activists to generate mass challenges to voter eligibility, which can overwhelm election clerks and create unnecessary hurdles for eligible voters to cast a ballot. Moreover, these mass challenge efforts may also feed litigation and lead to the development of conspiracy theories that undermine confidence in elections.

Alongside other strategies such as the takeover of election offices, the passage of restrictive voting laws, and the creation of election crime departments, mass challenges are a crucial component of the MAGA movement's plans to disrupt and undermine the credibility of the 2024 elections.

Check My Vote Created Database to Uncover "Illegal Absentee Ballot Stuffing"

Check My Vote ("CMV") is a Michigan-based for-profit organization that runs, a database containing publicly-available voter file information as well as CMV’s own data analysis and reports.

CMV's "analysis" focuses on locations such as apartments and trailer parks with “high registrations”—that is, addresses associated with multiple voter records in the qualified voter file. The reason for this focus is CMV’s baseless contention that “illegal absentee ballot stuffing operations” like those described in the discredited conspiracy film, 2000 Mules, are using fraudulent registrations from “high registration” addresses to generate fake absentee ballots.

CMV also encourages any visitor to their website to manually flag "registrations that [they] know are bad," emphasizing that "Anyone can flag registrations anywhere that has an internet connection." So-called "Election Patriots" who live in the relevant jurisdiction then review the flagged registrations, and submit them to the local elections clerk in the form of voter challenges.

A CMV slideshow asserts that “Fraudulent registrations gives the criminals a blank check book to print the needed ballots to win elections.”

Fraudulent registrations gives criminals a blank check
From "Check My Vote: Michigan's Voter-Roll Data Integrity Management Toolkit" Presentation

CMV is also expressly partisan.

In a slideshow presentation obtained by Documented, CMV states that it was created to “Expand the use of our data analysis skills for [then-Michigan GOP Chair] Kristina Karamo and the MIGOP,” and states that “We are prepared to expand our website’s server operations to accommodate the additional needs of the MIGOP. Our website technology will fit very nice [sic] to support MIGOP’s Election Integrity efforts.” Another slideshow presentation describes a “collaboration” between the MIGOP, CMV, and the Michigan chapter of the Election Integrity Network, called Michigan Fair Elections. During a December 2023 training webinar a CMV / Michigan Fair Elections leader also described "partner[ing]" with MIGOP on voter roll "cleanup."

MAGA Activists Using CMV to File Mass Voter Challenges

The state coalition affiliated with Cleta Mitchell's Election Integrity Network, Michigan Fair Elections (“MFE”), is working closely with CMV to generate voter challenges as part of its "Soles to the Roles" initiative.

MFE activists are “us[ing] to identify potential irregularities in Michigan’s voter rolls,” conducting potentially intimidating door-to-door canvassing to collect affidavits from residents, and then filing those affidavits with clerks as voter challenges.

Records obtained by Documented show that these activists have already submitted dozens of challenges, and are pressuring clerks to remove voters from the rolls.

"We Are a Bipartisan Citizen Action Group"

A September 2023 MFE training slideshow obtained by Documented shows that MFE is using CMV to create “walk lists” of “registrations for review.” MFE activists will then “visit addresses, interview occupants, document, & report results” to county clerks.

When canvassing, activists are instructed not to disclose that they are affiliated with a far-right network of election conspiracy theorists, and only state vaguely that they are part of a “bipartisan citizen action group” or “elected precinct delegates.” (The same training materials describe the project as a collaboration with the Michigan Republican Party.)

Activist are directed to ask occupants about whether voters who are registered at the address reside there, and if they would be willing to fill out and sign a “form” to document what they know. These “forms” are later notarized by MFE volunteers, and then submitted as affidavits to election clerks to support voter challenges.

Records obtained by Documented show that MFE activists are putting this plan into action, using CMV records to go door-to-door and question residents about whether people registered at that address actually live there, and then collecting statements—using the template in training materials—to support voter challenges.

“If You Fail to Mail a Challenge Notice, You Would Be Breaking the Law”

Documented obtained records from a township in Livingston County, Michigan showing that an MFE activist and local Republican Party official named Janine Iyer filed roughly 120 voter challenges on October 10, 2023 after canvassing 67 addresses.

Using the affidavit template in the CMV/MFE training materials, the activist and two associates submitted dozens of affidavits from residents declaring that individuals registered at the address no longer reside there. The activist also submitted a letter flagging registrations that appeared to have missing apartment numbers, missing lot numbers, or that appeared to be duplicates. This letter cited as the source.

A few days later, the activist sent an email to the election clerk declaring that “you are now required to send challenge notifications by registered or certified mail to these challenged registrants at the registration addresses listed.” The email further warned, “If you fail to mail a challenge notice, you would be breaking the law.”

The New York Times reported that the clerk, Polly Skolarus, said "that she was reluctant to take voters off the rolls in a presidential election year. But records indicate that nearly all of the voters had their registrations canceled, while others were flagged as 'challenged' — meaning they would have to give additional information or verify their address before they could vote."

Documented also obtained records from a city in Kalamazoo County, Michigan showing that dozens of voter challenges were filed in that jurisdiction by three canvassers using the same template affidavit from the MFE/CMV training materials. The cover page includes a link to the website.

"Affidavit" Voter Challenges May Not Comply With the Law

MFE activists are seeking to utilize a provision of Michigan law, MCL § 168.512, which provides that a voter may be challenged by “a written affidavit that such elector is not qualified to vote,” and outlines specific, time-bound procedures for clerks to respond the challenge.

Training materials instruct activists to submit challenges with a cover letter asking the clerk to “Please assign these registrations as challenged and follow up per MCL 168.512.”

Despite MFE's efforts to utilize Michigan's challenge-by-affidavit procedures, many of their challenges do not appear to be legally sufficient.

An "affidavit" is a sworn statement witnessed by a notary, but a notary is not actually witnessing any statements from residents regarding voter eligibility.

When canvassing, activists are collecting signed statements from residents on a document titled “Occupant or Volunteer Affidavit,” but the document is not notarized at the time. It is only later, after the canvass is complete, that the activist appears before a notary. The notary witnesses the activist signing an affirmation that they took a statement from a resident about another voter's eligibility, but the notary does not witness the resident's statement.

MFE Affidavit Form Examples
From affidavits submitted by MFE volunteer to Genoa Township

As a result, clerks may not be obligated to treat MFE's submissions as challenges-by-affidavit, since the actionable, first-hand information was not properly witnessed by a notary. If the submissions are not affidavits, then clerks are not obligated to follow the strict challenge procedures of 168.512.

In February of 2024, Michigan's Secretary of State issued guidance to clerks advising them to not to cancel voter registrations based on "third-hand information" challenges like those generated by MFE. "[I]f a challenge is based on the claim that the challenger conducted a house-to-house 'canvass' or purports to have been told by a resident of a household that the voter is a former resident who no longer lives in the house," the guidance states, then a clerk is required to process the challenge under other, more relaxed procedures in federal and state law.

CMV Tactics Suggest Election Denial Movement Is Maturing

The challenge-by-affidavit tactic appears to be an effort to recalibrate. In the 2022 election cycle, some of the same activists had sought to file thousands of voter challenges in bulk, but the Michigan Secretary of State advised clerks to only accept challenges made on an individualized level, and to reject challenges made in batches via a spreadsheet.

Eagle AI had a similar origin story: it was created in Georgia as a tool to help activists generate individualized voter challenges, after officials in that state largely rejected non-individualized voter challenges in the 2022 cycle.

The development of Eagle AI and Check My Vote hint at how the election denial movement is maturing, evolving, and learning from some of its past mistakes. MAGA activists associated with Cleta Mitchell’s Election Integrity Network are now using these well-funded tools and recalibrated tactics to overwhelm election offices with conspiracy-driven voter challenges.

Check My Vote Elevating Election Misinformation

In addition to working with MFE to generate mass voter challenges, CMV is also working to channel election conspiracy theories into the right-wing media ecosphere.

As noted above, a CMV priority is to review the voter file for “high registration” addresses, based on a 2000 Mules-inspired belief that “illegal absentee ballot stuffing operations” are fraudulently requesting absentee ballots from those addresses.

By targeting "high registration" addresses, CMV tends to focus on college campuses and university housing, where students live in multi-tenant units and move regularly. This intersects with the recent fixation on college voting by election deniers like Cleta Mitchell, founder of the Election Integrity Network.

For example, the Gateway Pundit has amplified CMV's allegations about registrations at a large student housing facility in Ann Arbor called the Landmark. CMV has highlighted that each Landmark apartment averages 3.4 registrations each—which is not surprising for a 608-person complex that offers up to six bedroom apartments —and where the group also claimed a small number of registrations were “non-standard” because they listed a letter alongside an apartment number, or where the apartment number was blank.

Washtenaw County, where the University of Michigan is located, has been a top target for CMV. In November 2023, CMV created a presentation on Washtenaw, and claimed that it is the “#1 worst county in Michigan for voter roll integrity.” The presentation includes slides with Google Street View photographs of several "high registration" addresses near the University of Michigan campus. One slide zooms in on the “Michigan Students for Biden-Harris” sign on an apartment’s front porch.

Slide from CMV Washtenaw County Presentation
Slide from Check My Vote Washtenaw County Presentation, Nov. 2023

CMV additionally focuses on minor discrepancies and typos in the voter rolls, such as a missing apartment number. CMV has claimed that Michigan’s voter rolls “contain over 48,000 NON-LEGAL voter registrations at trailer park and apartment housing addresses that are missing apartment or lot numbers,” a claim echoed by outlets like Gateway Pundit.

Check My Vote Elevating Election Misinformation

In addition to working with MFE to generate mass voter challenges, CMV is also working to channel election conspiracy theories into the right-wing media ecosphere.

CMV has been lauded by prominent election fraud conspiracists and right-wing media outlets. The group's co-founders, Tim Vetter and Phani Mantravadi, were featured panelists during a session on Michigan at Mike Lindell’s "Election Crime Bureau Summit" in August 2023. CMV has also received favorable coverage from sites like Gateway Pundit and The Federalist, and was cited in the Trump campaign’s discredited “Election Fraud Report” from January 2024.