WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Wyoming had its first City Commission meeting Monday since its mayor Kent Vanderwood was charged for trying to redirect Michigan’s electoral votes in 2020.
Vanderwood’s attorney has said he would not be stepping down as mayor and he and city council members kept tight-lipped about the eight felonies he is facing at Monday’s meeting. But the public definitely spoke up and shared their opinions about the charges, Vanderwood and the city council as a whole.
The mayor is facing a slew of charges issued by the Attorney General including conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of forgery, conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, uttering and publishing, conspiracy to commit election law forgery, and two counts of election law forgery.
Vanderwood is among 16 people accused of meeting in December 2020 to sign a document saying they were Michigan’s electors and directing the state’s votes to former President Donald Trump. That document was sent to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says it was an attempt to unlawfully send Michigan’s electoral votes to Trump when they, in fact, went to President Joe Biden.
A group called the Democracy Coalition, a collective of voting rights and democracy advocates, formally requested Vanderwood to resign.
The group said the charges “raise serious concerns about Mayor Vanderwood’s ability to fulfill his duties in a manner that upholds the values and principles an elected official should abide by,” according to a release.
The Democracy Coalition is said to be dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical governance and said Vanderwood stepping down would provide more transparency and trust to the public.
Many commenters at Monday’s meeting agreed.
“His name is on the paper. You cannot deny that. This is a stain on this city, a stain on our state, and we must get back to some type of decency and civility in our government,” said one commenter. “It resulted in an insurrection against our government. Five people lost their lives due to this action that is perpetrated against this country. Our mayor has to be held accountable for his part in that. Each of us must be accountable for our silence in that. I ask this mayor to resign.”
Several people supported Vanderwood staying in office.
“This man is a man of integrity. He is a man who absolutely loves this country, loves this constitution … and loves the Lord. For the attorney general to come out with charges three years after in a seemingly pointed fishing expedition against those who might have a difficult viewpoint needs to be thought through. When we allow the political outrage to allow that then we are not allowing the system that is founded so I suggest we allow Kent Vanderwood as mayor,” said another speaker.
A few commenters brought up alternate electors, saying that Vanderwood’s actions were legal.
“It’s one thing to be fake — fake means that somebody made something up. This has been done before. We have a right to an alternate elector when there is a question about the elector,” said commenter Phillip Smith.
The Democracy Coalition addressed a letter to Wyoming City Council.
“(Wyoming City Council) can reinforce public trust and ensure the continued progress of free and fair elections by demonstrating a commitment to addressing this issue transparently and
responsibly. While we recognize the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the pending
criminal charges are extremely serious. We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of the city
you serve for Mr. Vanderwood to resign from his position,” the letter reads.
Vanderwood was arraigned in court on the elector charges on Aug. 4. If convicted, he could face 14 years in prison.