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Michigan Republicans have released the findings of a monthslong investigation into the state's 2020 election, discovering no evidence that widespread or systemic voter fraud took place and recommending that the state attorney general investigate those who perpetuated false claims about the election for "personal gain."
In a 35-page report authored by Sen. Ed McBroom (R), the state Senate Oversight Committee provided a serious examination of numerous allegations of fraud or other unlawful activity pertaining to the election, concluding that Michigan voters should be confident that the results "represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan. President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by 154,188 votes."
While the report identified several "severe weaknesses" in the state's election system that could undermine confidence in the vote, McBroom wrote "there is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters."
The committee's investigation began Nov. 7 and involved "28 hours of testimony from almost 90 individuals spanning nine committee hearings, the review of thousands of pages of subpoenaed documents from multiple government entities, hundreds of hours of Senate staff investigation, and countless reviews of claims and concerns from Michigan residents."
After reviewing the evidence, Senate investigators concluded most claims of dead people or nonresidents voting were false, found no proof of "fractional voting," no evidence of a late-night "ballot dump" in Detroit, and no credibility to the claims that some Michigan precincts had more than 100% voter turnout.
Additionally, there is no evidence that hundreds of thousands of absentee voter ballots were mailed to Michigan voters without previously being requested. It appears many of the people making such claims confused receiving absentee ballot applications with receiving actual ballots.
Claims based on eyewitness testimony that absentee ballots were counted multiple times turned out to be a misunderstanding of how high-speed tabulation machines operate. When a stack of ballots is fed into the tabulator, sometimes a jam or another error necessitates the entire stack being restarted. When this happens, poll workers must reset the machine by pressing a button to clear the partial count and restart the stack from zero.
"If ballots were counted multiple times, this would have created a significant disparity in the official pollbook," the report explained. But the pollbooks did not show more votes cast than the number of people who obtained an absentee ballot, and in places where there were imbalances records show poll workers corrected the problem and ensured that each vote was only counted once in the official results.
The report attributes controversy over poll watchers at Detroit's TCF Center being improperly or unlawfully restricted from performing their duties to "confusion, fear, misunderstanding, and even chaos" caused by improper training for both poll workers and volunteer poll watchers. Suspicions and mistrust by both Republican and Democratic volunteers contributed to potentially unlawful actions by both sides, but despite this, the report found no evidence that "fraudulent activities were undertaken" or that the ballot count was corrupted.
"Numerous safeguards, particularly the partisan make up of the election boards themselves, were not lost, despite these actions," the report said.
The report's "strongest conclusion" comes in regard to Antrim County, where unofficial election results reported after the votes were counted turned out to be erroneous. A popular but false theory claimed Dominion voting machines switched votes for Donald Trump to Joe Biden, allowing Biden to win the county, a Republican stronghold. In reality, the erroneous election results were caused by a series of clerical mistakes that were quickly identified, corrected, and later verified by a hand recount.
The report states that claims of election workers or outside entities manipulating the vote by hand or electronically are "indefensible." In particular, it throughly debunks misleading claims from an audit of the Antrim County vote conducted by Allied Security Operations Group that appeared to show the election results were suspiciously changing for over a month after the election. The audit omitted crucial data points and context that revealed election workers' attempts to correct the erroneous results and wrongly led people to believe the vote was illegitimately manipulated.
"The Committee is appalled at what can only be deduced as a willful ignorance or avoidance of this proof perpetuated by some leading such speculation," the report declares.
The committee recommends that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel investigate "those who have been utilizing misleading and false information about Antrim County to raise money or publicity for their own ends."
"All compelling theories that sprang forth from the rumors surrounding Antrim County are diminished so significantly as for it to be a complete waste of time to consider them further," McBroom wrote.
The report makes several suggestions to strengthen the integrity of Michigan elections.
It urges new training for volunteer poll workers and watchers to educate everyone on proper election procedure and prevent future confusion. To reduce the risk of fraud, the report asks the Michigan secretary of state to end the practice of mailing out unsolicited absentee ballot applications, create new signature verification requirements for absentee ballots, install universal drop box security cameras to prevent tampering, and many more suggestions.
"Citizens should demand reasonable updates and reforms to close real vulnerabilities and unlawful activities that caused much of the doubt and questionability to flourish and could, if unchecked, be responsible for serious and disastrous fraud or confusion in the future," the report concluded.
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