Farmington, Hills clerks receive FOIA requests for 2016 ballots

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City clerks in Farmington and Farmington Hills are among scores across Michigan fielding identical Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for ballots and other documents from the 2016 presidential election.

According to multiple published reports, the requests come from someone named Emily, who wants the documents sent to United Action Group, which has an Astoria, New York address.

“We are still consulting with our attorney on the best way to handle (the request),” Farmington Hills City Clerk Pam Smith wrote in response to an email query. “We did send a 10-day extension letter and will be following up with another letter that will include estimated costs.”

Farmington Deputy City Clerk Mary Mullison said the city is also calculating the cost of filling the request. The applicant will receive an estimate and request to pay half the cost up front, she said.

More than 5,700 ballots were cast in Farmington, and more than 45,000 in Farmington Hills, on November 8, 2016. Complicating the request, the 19-inch ballot cannot be copied on a typical office copy machine.

The Detroit Free Press reports that other cities are also requesting deposits because of the unusually high cost. The newspaper also published a copy of the FOIA request, which seeks regular ballots, absent voter ballots and envelopes bearing the voter’s signature, all data associated with anyone who requested an absent voter ballot, and provisional ballots and all data associated with anyone who cast a provisional ballot.