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Michigan Deniers

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 while sowing more mistrust and chaos in 2024. 

  • Since the 2020 election, Republican leaders in Michigan have purged GOP election canvassers in eight of the largest counties (including Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Saginaw, and Washtenaw), according to a report by The Detroit News. At least half of them have been replaced with people who have discredited the 2020 election results.
  • Election-year unrest in Michigan already surfaced in April 2020 when hundreds of protesters—some armed with rifles—stormed the Michigan statehouse in a failed attempt to force an end to Covid-19 restrictions. 
  • That extremism continued with 13 men arrested in October 2020 on charges of plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the state government. 
  • On Dec. 14, 2020, the day Democratic electors were meeting at the statehouse in Lansing to certify the election for Biden, Michigan GOP leaders showed up to try to stop them. Sixteen of them signed and sent falsified certificates to Congress and the National Archives claiming that Michigan’s Electoral College votes belonged to Trump.
  • On Jan. 5, 2021, Meshawn Maddock, one of Michigan’s fake electors and a national advisory board member of Women for Trump, helped organize a rally in Washington, D.C., in advance of Trump’s rally the next day. She and her husband Matt Maddock, a Michigan state representative at the time, arranged for buses to take Trump supporters to the March to Save America event and were part of the crowd that stormed the Capitol that afternoon. Michigan State House Republicans kicked him out of their caucus as a result.
  • In March 2021, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson completed a comprehensive audit of the ballots cast in the 2020 general election in Michigan, the machines used to tabulate those ballots, and the election procedures in every county. “It is time for leaders across the political spectrum to tell their constituents the truth—that our election was the most secure in history, and the results accurately reflect the will of Michigan’s voters,” she said in announcing the results.
  • In June 2021, State Representative Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) introduced a bill that called for hiring an independent firm to conduct another audit of the 2020 election, but that ultimately failed in the Michigan Legislature.
  • After the secretary of state completed the 2020 election audit, the state auditor general independently examined a conspiracy theory alleging that a significant number of votes had been cast by dead people. Its final report released in March 2022 fully debunked the conspiracy theory.
  • In December 2021, a group of Trump supporters again demanded a forensic audit of Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results to be funded by anonymous sources. Secretary of State Benson agreed to process the petition but said in a statement: “Over a year into this grift, their goal is now clear. They no longer want only to change the outcome of the 2020 election, but to also undermine citizens’ faith in our democracy and dissuade them from being engaged and informed voters in future elections.”
  • A nonprofit known as the Election Integrity Force (EIF) created in the wake of the 2020 election has raised skepticism about the legitimacy of the process and attempted to decertify President Biden’s win in Michigan by suing the governor and secretary of state. EIF also challenged the ballots of approximately 22,000 people during the August 2022 Michigan primary.
  • In August 2022, longtime U.S. Representative Peter Meijer lost his Republican primary after voting to impeach Trump in 2021 for his role in inciting the violence at the Capitol.
  • In 2022, Trump backed extremists running for Michigan’s top three statewide offices: Republicans Tudor Dixon for governor, Matthew DePerno for attorney general, and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state. All three lost.
  • In August 2022, Reuters reported that Matthew DePerno, Trump’s pick for attorney general, had worked with other operatives to gain access to ballot tabulation machines in Roscommon County. A special prosecutor is continuing to investigate concerns that he was part of a network of right-wing activists suspected of breaching U.S. voting machines after the 2020 election. Eleven of the 17 incidents reported throughout the country took place in Michigan.
  • In July 2023, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced felony charges against 16 Michigan residents for their role in the 2020 fake electors scheme.
  • In October 2023, James Renner—one of the fake electors charged—reached a “cooperation agreement” with the attorney general’s office in exchange for all criminal charges against him being dropped. The remaining 15 fake electors have pleaded not guilty to the eight criminal charges the state brought against them. A district court judge in Lansing has divided the defendants into two groups and in early 2024 was still holding preliminary hearings about how the cases should proceed. 
  •  In May 2024, as part of Michigan’s ongoing prosecution of those who interfered with the 2020 presidential election, Attorney General Nessel charged former Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott and her lawyer with four felony counts related to unauthorized computer access, misconduct in office, and concealing or withholding a voting machine, along with a misdemeanor for disregarding instructions from elections officials.

More Michigan Election Deniers