LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s Senate Oversight Committee spent all day Tuesday listening to people who believe they witnessed irregularities as ballots were counted in Detroit.
The absentee counting board at the TCF Center in Detroit as emerged as a lightning rod for those who claim the election was skewed in favor of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who won Michigan by a margin of more than 140,000 votes.
Several of the allegations put forth by those who addressed the committee during five hours of testimony had already been debunked as a misunderstanding of how the counting process works.
For example, some were alarmed about a batch of ballots delivered to the absentee counting board at 3 a.m. the Wednesday after the election. Those ballots had met the 8 p.m. deadline to be submitted and had to be first processed at the clerk’s office before being sent to TCF to be counted.
Additionally, some Republicans have also claimed they were not allowed to watch, but the News 8 crew that was present saw plenty of Republican poll-watchers at work.
Still, those who object to the vote say they want a forensic audit completed in Wayne County and in some other counties, including neighboring southeast Michigan county Macomb, Kent in West Michigan and Antrim in northwestern Michigan. There was a ballot tabulating problem in Antrim County, but it was the fault of human error while programming software and was caught and corrected even before the vote canvass.
“We want to see the ballots. We want to see the poll books. We want to see the cables, the tabulators. We want to see it all,” Antrim County-based radio personality Randy Bishop told the committee, saying officials should “prove” Biden has won.
“I have not lived for 62 years … to see this election stolen, which is what we believe. Prove us wrong,” an impassioned Bishop continued. “All you have to do is that auditing of the books, the ballots, in full disclosure… If you do that, the truth will be shown and our land will be healed but until you do it, we’re not going to buy it.”
County canvassing boards have already reviewed the ballots and poll books and certified the election, as has the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office is conducting audits — one to assess risks that has been in the works for nearly two years and another to review local jurisdictions’ performance, which is routine.
“No actual evidence of any wrongdoing or fraud was presented, despite repeated questions requesting such evidence from lawmakers,” Secretary of State’s Office spokesperson Jake Rollow said of the testimony in a statement. “Instead we saw a regurgitation of vague accusations based on lack of knowledge of election procedure and widely debunked conspiracy theories. We hope the state senate will allow future testimony illustrating the facts underlying this election: which is that it was one of the most secure, well administered in our state’s history.”
Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, who chairs the Senate Oversight Committee, said election protocol to keep paper ballots means the results are verifiable.
“How do we move, though from what’s possible, to what’s actually happened?” he said in response to former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who was the first to testify. “These possible vulnerabilities that you have detailed seem to me to be undercut in Michigan … by the fact that we maintain the paper ballots.”
Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a Republican, added that her office was in the process of coordinating post-election procedural audits and that they would be opened to the public. Dates have not yet been set.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says has looked into a few formal complaints of fraud, some of which were discovered to be hoaxes within days. Some cases are still being investigated, but a spokesperson would not release details.
The state House Oversight Committee will hear testimony on the election at 6 p.m. Wednesday, notably from Republican President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani. In a Tuesday statement, committee Chair Matt Hall, R-Marshall, said he and other lawmakers have been flooded with emails and calls about the election and the “committee is attempting to get to the bottom of all of it.”
“We can go a long way to achieving this by going straight to the top. Mr. Giuliani believes there were many problems with how this election was conducted and has alleged that there was significant fraud in Michigan,” Hall’s statement continued. “I am glad we were able to find time to make this work with the President’s legal team. This is an opportunity for us to get definitive answers – in-person – about Mr. Giuliani’s claims and evidence, while we work to provide clarity and transparency to people who have taken issue with our state’s election system.”
Jonathan Oosting of Bridge Michigan magazine reports that McBroom said he would not hear testimony from Giuliani because he did not have first-hand knowledge of the count in Detroit.
The Trump campaign has lost nearly all of the lawsuits it has filed around the country attacking the election outcome.