Michigan Officials Charge 3 People With Voter Fraud, Tell Trump Supporters To ‘Stop Spreading Lies’ Fraud Is Widespread

By Alison Durkee, Forbes Staff


Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state have charged three individuals who attempted voter fraud in the 2020 election, they announced Monday, saying the charges disprove allegations of more widespread fraud as former President Donald Trump and his allies keep making baseless claims about the state’s election.

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside of the TCF Center on November 6, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Michigan AG Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Michigan residents Trenae Myesha Rainey, Carless Clark and Nancy Juanita Williams have been charged after the state concluded investigations into their alleged voter fraud attempts.

Rainey, an employee at an assisted living facility, was charged with election law forgery and forging signatures on absentee ballot applications after she allegedly filled out applications for residents who had not told her they wanted to vote and forged their signatures.

Clark was charged with election law forgery and “impersonating another to vote at an election” after she allegedly signed and returned her grandson’s absentee ballot—resulting in a case of double voting, as he also voted in person—because “she was concerned he would not have time to vote on Election Day.”

Williams, who served as the guardian for a number of legally incapacitated people, allegedly submitted absentee ballot and voter registration applications for 26 people without their knowledge, resulting in charges of election law forgery and providing false statements and forging signatures on an absentee ballot application.

The charges come after three other people—a county clerk who improperly logged absentee ballots and two parents who separately submitted ballots or ballot applications on their daughters’ behalf—had previously been charged with attempted election fraud in Michigan’s 2020 election.

Crucial Quote

"Our election system is secure, and today's charges demonstrate that in the rare circumstances when fraud occurs we catch it and hold the perpetrators accountable," Benson said in a statement, adding the charges “send a clear message to those who promote deceitful claims about widespread fraud: the current protocols we have in place work to protect and ensure the integrity of our elections. It's time to share that truth and stop spreading lies to the contrary.”

Big Number

5.5 million. That’s how many people voted in the 2020 election in Michigan, according to the secretary of state’s office, meaning the instances of voter fraud that have been identified represent far less than even 1% of the total votes cast.

Key Background

Trump and his allies alleged widespread fraud in Michigan after President Joe Biden won the battleground state, though there is no evidence to back up their assertions in Michigan or any other state. An investigation by Michigan’s Republican-led Senate Oversight Committee completed in June “found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in the state’s election, and lawsuits in Michigan alleging fraud overwhelmingly failed. A federal judge recently sanctioned far-right attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood and their co-counsel for their unsuccessful litigation in the state claiming widespread fraud, ruling they had pushed claims that were “not backed by law” or “evidence” and were instead based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion.” Evidence shows voter fraud has historically been exceedingly rare, and other battleground states have similarly found very few instances of provable fraud in the 2020 election.

What To Watch For

Trump and his allies are still pushing their baseless claims of voter fraud in Michigan. The ex-president claimed in a statement on Friday instances of fraud in Michigan were “beyond what anyone can believe” and pushed for a so-called forensic audit to investigate the state’s election results, following similar controversial partisan audits in other battleground states. His supporters will hold a rally Tuesday at the state Capitol to call for an audit, even as a similar probe in Arizona actually counted more votes for Biden and fewer for Trump than the state’s official tally.

Further Reading

GOP Pushing For Arizona-Style Election Audits To Spread Nationwide — But State Officials Already Keep Finding ‘No Evidence’ Of Fraud (Forbes)

Sidney Powell, ‘Kraken’ Attorneys Sanctioned For Bringing Michigan Election Fraud Lawsuit (Forbes)

GOP Loses In Michigan, Again: Judge Denies ‘Incorrect And Not Credible’ Effort To Block Election Results (Forbes)

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