The delusional rantings about 2020 election fraud that inspired the ongoing “sham” audit in Maricopa County, Ariz., has led to similar efforts in Michigan, with pro-Trump attorneys and voters demanding investigations of voting machines and ballots in places like Cheboygan County, Houghton County and Kent County.
Nearly eight months after the presidential election, angry agitators still claim that votes were fraudulently flipped, with the help of local elections officials, to prevent the re-election of Donald Trump.
Last week, a Detroit attorney gave a sales pitch to Cheboygan County commissioners, offering to send in a “forensic team,” at no charge to the county, to inspect ballots and scanners, according to The Washington Post.
The attorney, Stefanie Lambert Juntilla, told the commissioners that her “expert reports” proving vote manipulation in Michigan call for an audit in Cheboygan County.
Juntilla worked closely with former Trump attorney Sidney Powell during the series of unsuccessful lawsuits beginning last fall that tried to overturn the November election. Powell now faces a $1.3 billion lawsuit and possible court sanctions for making wildly false claims in court.
My Pillow guy enters the fray
In Houghton County in the Upper Peninsula, commissioners unanimously agreed earlier this month to refer accusations of vote-switching by machines to their state senator, Ed McBroom, who chairs the Senate Oversight Committee.
Residents in the audience demanding action cited a widely discredited documentary produced by Trump ally and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell called “Absolute Proof,” which lays out a series of conspiracy theories, including claims that hackers in China flipped votes in the U.S. Like Powell, Lindell also faces a $1.3 billion lawsuit from the company that manufactures the targeted voting machines.
It appears that these behind-the-scenes tricks were plotted by a network of lawyers and self-proclaimed election experts who rely on Republican political groups to fire up residents and get them to attend public meetings where they parrot unsubstantiated allegations heard on social media and cable TV.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has decried the chicanery at the local level, saying that “there has not yet been any real accountability for these bad actors trying to undermine our democracy.”
Believers in far-reaching fraud were egged on by a recent Trump statement saying Michigan officials “should be run out of office” if they haven’t yet found voter fraud.
McBroom, a Republican, has already acknowledged that his Senate committee’s inquiries hadn’t uncovered evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 vote: “I haven’t found anything that’s substantial to show vast conspiracies of vote switching or manipulation of software.”
Officials face threats, intimidation
The concern among some officials is that the disinformation that still flourishes might lead to violence.
“This will continue on for years,” Gerrid Uzarski, the Kent County elections director, told the Post. His office has been inundated with angry phone calls from residents accusing him of allowing election fraud.
“I’ve left my office in fear a little bit, had to look around and make sure no one was near me, because of the nature of the phone calls. They are so angry, they just come at you, very hateful, not looking for answers but hating you, like you are the problem.”
The national focus on Michigan fraud claims ignited in Antrim County on Election Night when it was discovered that 2,000 votes intended for Trump had gone to Joe Biden. The mistake, attributed to human error, was quickly fixed but conspiracies immediately surfaced. On Tuesday, a long-simmering lawsuit alleging fraud in Antrim, located near Traverse City, was dismissed by a circuit judge.
The Antrim case fueled other election challenges but the question is: Why target a county such as Cheboygan?
The county, located at the tip of the Lower Peninsula, is tiny. It has a population of about 25,000 – about the size of a small town – spread over 885 square miles. Trump won there with 64 percent of the vote. But, like Antrim, it does use machines made by Dominion Voting Systems.
In contrast, Maricopa County consists of more than half of Arizona’s voting population. The bizarre county election audit taking place in Phoenix, with an array of conspiracy theories on center stage, has buoyed Trump supporters and the former president.
But it may have reached a crescendo on Tuesday when Republican officials said the “craziness” must end. The audit was called a sham based on “insane lies.” The top GOP official in the county said Trump allies raising money based on the audit showed that the ongoing spectacle is a “grift disguised as an audit.”
We have yet to hear any Republican officials in Michigan use language anything like that to denounce local efforts to disparage and discredit the state’s election process. At the moment, they’re busy in Lansing trying to pass numerous election “reforms” designed to prevent invisible election fraud.