The citizen ‘web’ is the latest front in a grassroots movement to challenge or overturn the certified 2020 election results, which the former president continues to claim were rigged against him in Michigan and other swing states.
They are looking for “ghost voters” or “ghost voters,” organizers said Tuesday at a rally at the Michigan Capitol, where they recruited new volunteers while demanding that GOP lawmakers order a “forensic audit” of the 2020 contest.
Federal officials have warned that door-to-door canvassing could constitute voter intimidation, and Michigan’s top election official discourages voters from discussing their ballots with untrained activists.
“Any effort to violate the privacy of citizens or intimidate them into showing up at their doorsteps demanding to know how they voted is a desperate attempt to sow further doubt about election results that reliably and accurately reflected the will of voters,” said Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
The effort is centered in perhaps unlikely locations, including Chesterfield Township in Macomb County, which Trump won with 61% of the vote against Democratic President Joe Biden.
GOP State House candidate Jacky Eubanks said she used a Freedom of Information Act request to identify absentee voters in Chesterfield and polled a “random sample” of absentee voters there.
In a speech at the Michigan Capitol rally, Eubanks alleged without evidence that the state government had given “left-wing Marxist social activists” access to “false names on the voter rolls to cast fake ballots.” vote” and “steal” the 2020 elections.
“We’re going to hunt them down,” she said. “We will find out.”
Eubanks, who said she worked for the Trump campaign in 2020, said she had already uncovered “anomalies” in Macomb County, which Trump won with 53% of the vote.
Eubanks said she collected signed affidavits from voters who either did not recall voting by mail or lived at an address at which another voter had registered.
But she has only submitted seven affidavits to election officials, and “there is simply no validity to any of the claims,” said Chesterfield Township Clerk Cindy Berry, a Republican who is expected to run for office. Michigan Secretary of State.
Berry confirmed that his office was working with state and federal authorities to investigate affidavits compiled by Eubanks and other activists.
The Michigan State Police’s Second District Special Investigations Section is investigating a report of alleged voter fraud in Chesterfield Township, and “Eubanks has already been interviewed in connection with this investigation,” the gate confirmed. -spokesperson of the MSP, Lori Dougovito.
Although the state police have not completed their review, “our findings to the Registrar’s Office are that each of these affidavits has been thoroughly investigated and none of them were credible. “Berry told Bridge Michigan.
In some cases, apparently “confused” voters told Eubanks they didn’t vote by mail when they did in person at the clerk’s office before the election, Berry said.
Berry said she had “no problem” with the canvassing effort because “you can’t blame” activists for wanting fair and honest elections, but her office responded to calls from dismayed voters. home visits.
“It makes people uncomfortable,” the clerk said. “They often feel duped and deceived, or misled, by the information. They are angry that people come to the door.”
Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini, a Republican, agreed that Eubank’s affidavits “were not credible” and questioned why she would publicly tout them anyway.
“It’s kind of crazy,” he told Bridge Michigan.
He announced last week that he was hiring Pro V&V of Alabama, a federally accredited cybersecurity firm, to perform a “forensic audit” of the county’s election server. Forlini said the audit of the $16,000 server will be overseen by CyFIR LLC of Alabama, which also participated in a controversial and more in-depth forensic audit in Arizona.
Find “ghost voters”
Activists in Michigan have already launched similar citizen marches in Muskegon and Livonia, former state senator Patrick Colbeck said Tuesday at the Michigan Capitol rally.
Organizers from the nonprofit Election Integrity Fund & Force used the Trump-endorsed event to recruit volunteers willing to knock on doors in their own local communities.
“Our Qualified Voter File has been damaged, and the only way to straighten things out is to review the Qualified Voter File and reach out to our communities,” said Joanne Bakale, an activist from Berrien County that others organizers called it “canvassing”. queen” of Michigan.
“Please help us find ghost voters in your communities,” she said. “Help us find lost voters in your community. Help us find duplicate voters in your community. And finally, help us find the truth.”
The ongoing canvass was inspired by a similar effort in Arizona led by Liz Harris, a failed legislative candidate who spoke at the Michigan rally on Tuesday and encouraged activists to use a free app to “start their own canvassing.” ” here.
In a September report touted by Trump supporters as evidence of voter fraud, Harris estimated that in a state Biden won by about 10,000 votes, officials never counted more than 170,000 “lost” votes. , but counted 96,000 “ghost” votes from residents who didn’t live where they had registered.
However, the Arizona prospecting report contained almost no concrete evidence, and local newspapers quickly debunked its only verifiable claims.
In one instance, Harris claimed two voters mailed in absentee ballots from a vacant lot in Maricopa County.
But reporters investigating the allegation found there was a house on the land which was “clearly visible from the street”, not to mention Google Maps.
Arizona Senate Republicans considered ordering their own election inquiry as part of a “forensic audit” of the Maricopa County election, but backed out of the plan after the U.S. Department of Justice warned him.
“Past experience with similar investigative efforts across the country has raised concerns that they may be directed against minority voters, which may potentially implicate the Human Rights Act’s anti-bullying prohibitions. vote,” Civil Rights Division deputy Pamela Karlan told Arizona officials in May.
“Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that may deter them from seeking to vote in the future.”
“Hearts are in the right place”
Berry, the Republican clerk for Chesterfield Township, told Bridge Michigan that she believes “the hearts of her local canvassers are in the right place.”
“I just think the methods they use, and the fact that they’re just not properly trained, means they just don’t fully understand the (election) process,” leading to erroneous claims, Berry said.
Benson, the Democratic secretary of state, called the 2020 election the safest in Michigan’s history.
Anyone still concerned about election security should review the results of more than 250 local audits conducted by clerks on both sides of the aisle, said Wimmer, a spokesman for the secretary of state.
“And any citizen who encounters a so-called ‘solicitor’ at their door asking to know how they voted is asked to explain it before closing it,” Wimmer said.