The refusal by Jocelyn Benson, whose office argued that such an appearance might be used to spread falsehoods about the contest, was met with disapproval by the Republican in charge of the panel. GOP allies of former President Donald Trump are still pushing to analyze the integrity of the November contest, even after Benson announced that 250 countywide audits confirmed the accuracy of Michigan’s election results.
“The Oversight Committee and its members have on several occasions taken action and made statements to undermine public faith in our democracy by spreading misinformation about the 2020 elections,” Jake Rollow, spokesman for the Michigan Department of State, said in a statement shared with the Washington Examiner on Monday. “Secretary Benson has repeatedly affirmed that she cannot in good conscience participate in such a charade, particularly after multiple members of the committee recently sponsored legislation to restrict the right to vote and, among other things, undermine Michigan voters’ state constitutional right to vote absentee.”
Benson’s office offered Elections Director Jonathan Brater to appear in her stead, but Oversight Committee Chairman Ed McBroom, a Republican, insisted that Benson be present too.
“While the committee will benefit from having Director Brater there to provide details on certain aspects of managing election-related actions taken by the department, I believe it is imperative that the State’s chief election officer, ultimately elected to and charged with making the final decisions, be present as well,” McBroom said in response to her refusal to appear, according to multiple news outlets.
Michigan Senate Republicans have introduced 39 election bills seeking to institute election regulations and restrictions, part of a nationwide trend on the state level in which GOP-controlled legislatures are seeking reforms after the 2020 contest that critics argue are limiting voting. Although some of the measures are likely to receive bipartisan support, Democrats say others may disenfranchise voters, including black people, making it needlessly difficult to vote.
State Sen. Erika Geiss described the proposals as putting “lipstick on Jim Crow.”
As part of the process of reviewing the 2020 election, officials counted every ballot and affirmed the results in Antrim County, a small county in the northern part of the state that has become a hotbed for election fraud allegations and a lawsuit. The audit, conducted in December, netted Trump a mere 12 votes.
Antrim County, along with Maricopa County in Arizona, drew the attention of Trump and his supporters, in particular for allegations that Dominion Voting Systems machines rigged the November election for President Joe Biden, claims that have been vociferously denied by the company and have led to litigation. Biden won the state of Michigan and its 16 Electoral College votes by more than 154,000 votes.
Original Author: Haley Victory Smith
Original Location: Michigan secretary of state declines invite to testify about 2020 election