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Michigan Deniers

Overview

Historically, Michigan voted primarily Republican in presidential elections until the 1930s, when voters began to alternate between the two parties during the Depression. From 1972–88, Michiganders veered to the Right and backed Republicans, but then swung to the Left to vote Democratic in the six consecutive presidential elections between 1992 and 2012. Trump narrowly flipped the state in 2016, defeating Hillary Clinton by a mere 0.2%—the closest contest in terms of percentages that year. 

In 2020 President Biden won Michigan by 154,188 votes or 2.8%, earning him the state’s 16 electoral votes (now reduced to 15 for 2024 and 2028 based on 2020 census data). Democrats have held both Senate seats since 2000, though Michigan’s House delegation is more evenly split, with six Republicans and seven Democrats as of the 2022 midterms. The governorship has been in Democratic hands since 2018 but Republicans held that office in the preceding two election cycles. And in 2022, Democrats won control of the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in 40 years.

Most Michigan residents are white and vote Republican, except in Wayne County, its main metropolitan area around Detroit, where the population is almost 80% Black and tends to vote Democratic. It’s that split between urban and rural—and Black and white—voters that makes the state a toss-up in presidential elections.

As in other swing states Biden won in 2020, the Trump campaign filed numerous lawsuits in Michigan after the election, making claims of voter fraud and systemic irregularities without providing real evidence. A group of Trump supporters also got unauthorized access to voting machines in Antrim County in order to conduct their own “audit” of results. Ultimately, more than 200 post-election audits—including a dozen in Wayne County alone—affirmed Biden’s victory. In addition, a comprehensive state Senate report approved by GOP lawmakers found no evidence of widespread fraud and confirmed that voters in Michigan can trust the efficacy of the electoral process in their state. 

Three House Republicans from Michigan voted against certifying the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021—and all three are running for reelection again in 2024. Election deniers currently account for one-third of the state’s 15-member congressional delegation. In the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol, at least 24 Michigan residents have faced criminal charges for contributing to the violence that day—including two charged with assaulting police officers.  

2020 Election Fallout

Michigan has been a hotbed of election fraud conspiracy theories, with many people in power—especially at the local precinct level—still casting doubt on President Biden’s victory and ready to undermine the electoral process by sowing more mistrust and chaos in 2024.

Election Deniers Running for Congress

In Michigan, eight Republicans running for federal office in 2024 have falsely claimed that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, spread lies or conspiracies about its legitimacy, refused to certify the results, or took steps to undermine the integrity of that or subsequent elections.

Election Deniers Running for Statewide Office

No candidate currently running for statewide office in Michigan has questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Election Deniers in the State Legislature

In Michigan, 32 election deniers serve in the state legislature, accounting for 21% of the 148-person body and including leaders in both chambers. The States United Democracy Center identifies 22 representatives and 10 senators who say they don’t believe that President Biden actually won the 2020 election. Election denialism among elected officials at the state level matters because state legislators across the country have been introducing increasingly more bills in recent years that allow partisan operatives to manipulate elections, restrict access to voting, and potentially skew outcomes. 

Election Deniers Administering Elections

More than 10 county election administrators in Michigan who are responsible for overseeing the 2024 presidential election process parrot Trump’s claims of a stolen 2020 election or continue to spread disinformation about election integrity.

Election Deniers in GOP Leadership

As in other states, the rise of Trumpism has led to the party infighting seen elsewhere in the country, with once-prominent Republicans in the state now disparaged as “globalist elites.” By early 2024, the Michigan GOP had become something of “a national punchline,” as ProPublica put it, when recently elected Chair Kristina Karamo—once a favorite of the former president—refused to leave office after the state party voted to oust her in favor of Trump’s latest, less radical pick for the top post.

More Michigan Election Deniers