This is what the effort to keep 2020’s election alive looks like on the ground.
LANSING, Mich.—Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum asked Twitter “When will the madness end?”
Almost a full year later, after multiple thorough investigations assuring the result’s validity, the results of the 2020 election are still being challenged by a group of right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump. Across the state, the results of the election have already been audited more than 250 times.
And according to the October issue of Lake Effect, a magazine published by Public Policy Polling and Progress Michigan, the majority of Michiganders are likely to agree, saying that the election was fairly decided.
Before the election, Byrum walked The ‘Gander through her typical day, ensuring the election would be safe, accurate, and secure. Her days were long, but she was proud to do the work to ensure democracy functioned. Now, with seven local elections in her county slated for Nov. 2, she’s still dealing with 2020’s election night.
The Year of Audits Continues
Byrum was forced to re-audit the results from that night again by Michigan’s Republican-appointed Auditor General Doug Ringler. She compared the experience to a root canal.
“If they have questions about the safety and security of our elections, it would be lovely if they would reach out to a certified election official and ask questions first,” Bryum said. “Our elections are some of the safest and most secure in the nation. And it is unfortunate that the Office of Auditor General is doing an end around with the Attorney General.”
And still, a small group of fervent Trump supporters, including members of Michigan’s Legislature, are calling for yet another audit of the results.
Despite the fact that previous audits have included all the things he wanted, state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) called for another audit that includes the poll books and voter files as a group of Trump supporters push for a ballot proposal that would force a “forensic audit” of the election.
The term “forensic audit” is a favorite of Trump’s to describe the kind of review that he and his supporters believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, will invalidate the 2020 election
Forensic audits typically happen in business situations, where a third party of specialists in criminology and accounting when there are concerns about money being used in an illegal manner. They typically aren’t used in elections.
It’s likely such an audit would take a similar form in this case, with outside election inspectors repeating the work already done by the Secretary of State and through the Republican-led Legislature’s oversight.
Trump’s supporters, hundreds of whom gathered Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Capitol Building in Lansing, are calling for a petition that may add the question of performing a forensic audit to 2022’s statewide ballot.
The hundreds of audits conducted in Michigan have uncovered three cases of voter fraud, which investigators have hailed as evidence of a secure system. Those results fall far short of the accusations of widespread fraud alleged by the protestors calling on even more audits.
And in spite of the investigations from multiple sources confirming the security of the election, Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo claims that nothing has been done to prove the election’s security.
“We’re constantly being told this is the most secure election in U.S. history; then prove it,” Karamo told protesters.
Karamo’s own party, in the report the state Senate issued on election results, warned that those continuing to push the narrative that the election was illegitimate did so often to advance their own personal motives.
“The committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain,” wrote state Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), who oversaw the Senate’s investigation.
Karamo is running against Secretary of State Jocvelyn Benson, who oversaw the 2020 election.