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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged three women with crimes related to attempted voter fraud in the 2020 general election.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Nessel argued the charges show that when “rare” election fraud happens, the current safeguards stop it.
“These cases highlight the scrutiny applications and ballots undergo throughout the election process, as well as the thorough investigative process that ensues when instances of attempted fraud are suspected,” Nessel said in a statement.
Procedurally, reports of voter fraud are often first reported to local law enforcement or the Michigan Bureau of Elections (BOE) for initial investigation and then routed to the Michigan State Police (MSP) or Department of Attorney General (DAG) if investigators believe a crime occurred.
“These charges also 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,” Benson said in a statement.
In October 2020, the Centerline Clerk contacted the BOE after roughly two dozen absentee voter applications were dropped off for processing. The clerk said the application signatures didn’t match voter signatures in the Qualified Voter File (QVF). In Nov. 2020, investigators found the applications came from the Father Muray Nursing Home and were for residents who hadn’t told staff they wanted to vote in the 2020 General Election.
Investigators determined Trenae Myesha Rainey, 28, a facility employee, did not contact residents as set by procedure and instead filled out the applications and forged the resident’s signature to each application. Rainey is charged with six felonies in Macomb County’s 37th District Court. Arraignment isn’t yet scheduled.
In April 2021, the BOE reported a case of double voting. A signature review of a returned absentee ballot to the Detroit City Clerk determined the signature did not match the signature in the QVF. That registered voter also voted at his polling location on Election day. An investigation determined the grandmother of the registered voter, Carless Clark, 59, returned his absentee ballot by mail despite her grandson deciding to vote in person. Clark admitted to signing her grandson’s absentee ballot because she was concerned he would not have time to vote on Election Day. Clark is charged with two felonies in Wayne County’s 36th District Court:
In October 2020, BOE became concerned about possible election fraud after receiving similar inquiries from local election administrators through the QVF Help Desk. The inquiries centered on applications for absentee ballots signed with an “X” and requesting that the ballot be mailed to the business address of Guardian and Associates in Oak Park. BOE referred the review to MSP for a criminal investigation.
Investigators determined Nancy Juanita Williams, 55, planned to control absentee ballots for legally incapacitated persons under her care by fraudulently submitting 26 absentee ballot applications to nine identified city and township clerks. Williams sought to have absentee ballots for those individuals mailed directly to her. She also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person – all without knowledge, consent, or understanding of the person under her care. MSP ultimately referred the case to DAG in May 2021 for charges.
Williams is charged with 14 misdemeanors and 28 felonies across five courts. Williams’ arraignment is scheduled in Redford’s 17th District Court on Nov. 2 at 8:45 a.m.
The charges of election fraud follow an argument in Lansing where Republicans are pushing what they say are election security bills, but Democrats decry as voter suppression. The bills aim for stricter voter ID measures. Of the above three charges, only the double-vote counted in the 2020 election. “The other two were caught during the absentee ballot application processing and never issued actual ballots,” Nessel spokeswoman Lynsey Mukomel told The Center Square in an email.
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Granted Release From Jail During Appeal For Hate Crime Hoax Conviction
On Monday, Jussie Smollett’s lawyers demanded the actor be released from prison after he and his family received “vicious threats” that supposedly raised concern for Smollett’s safety while in jail. This request was granted on Wednesday, allowing Smollett to be released from jail on bond while his lawyers appeal his conviction for staging a hate crime and lying to the police about it.
Back in December, Smollett, 39, was found guilty on five felony counts of disorderly conduct. Last week, the disgraced actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail, restitution to the city of Chicago of $120,106, and a $25,000 fine.
During his sentencing, Smollett claimed that he was not suicidal and that if he dies while in jail, it will be the result of foul play. He also maintained his innocence during his sentencing despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence against him.
“Your honor, I respect you, and I respect your decision,” said Smollett,” but I did not do this, and I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
Only days after being sent to the Cook County Jail, Smollett was placed in the psych ward, which prison officials claimed is standard policy for high profile criminals.
Smollett’s attorneys had insisted that he could be in danger of physical harm if he remained imprisoned at Cook County Jail, claiming their client was the target of “vicious threats”.
“Mr. Smollett has become the target of vicious threats in the social media forums which no doubt reflects the hatred and wish for physical harm towards Smollett which he may experience during incarceration,” the lawyers’ filing said.
Smollett’s brother has reportedly been “bombarded” with threatening phone calls, and the rest of the family has also received threats.
“Mr. Smollett anticipates he will most likely be assigned to segregated incarceration or protective custody, both euphemisms for solitary confinement; a situation which could have extraordinary damage on his mental health,” continued the filing. “As a result, any custodial setting poses a safety and health danger to the life of Mr. Smollett.”
Apparently, damage to a prisoner’s mental health is of the utmost importance in prison now. Jail, of course, is known to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Regardless, since he was convicted of ‘non-violent” offenses, the court is allowing Smollett to be released from Cook County Jail on a $150,000 recognizance bond, which only has to be paid if he misses a court date.
VIDEO: Kim Potter Only sentenced to 16 months in prison for 1st Degree Manslaughter
Extreme Leniency: Kim Potter was just sentenced to 24 months (2 years) in prison with credit for 8 months time served, meaning her sentence is 16 months.
Judge Regina Chu said that this was the case of a “cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm thinking it was a Taser and ended up killing a young man.”
The court approved a downward departure from the typical sentence, as Chu said Potter never intended to use her firearm and the scene painted as chaotic. (guy sitting in car)
By Minnesota law, Potter was sentenced only on the higher charge of first-degree manslaughter. The maximum charge is 15 years, but for someone with no criminal history like Potter, guidelines range from between six and eight-and-a-half years.
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