Donald Trump lost Michigan by more than 150,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election. But the state still featured prominently in the false allegations of voter fraud pushed by Trump and his allies.
Two days after the election, Trump addressed the nation and said a litany of inaccurate claims on the vote count in Michigan. âWe were very advanced in Michigan, won the state and it was reduced,â Trump said. Without evidence, Trump accused Michigan poll officials of “duplicating ballots,” producing “batches” of illegal votes at 4 a.m. and counting “more votes than you had voters. “.
On November 19, 2020, the Associated Press reported, Trump “called Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders to the White House for an extraordinary meetingAs part of a “GOP push to overthrow the democratic process.” Trump also filed lawsuits and personally pressured two Republican officials in Wayne County, Michigan, to refuse to certify the results.
While Trump’s claims lacked factual support, he enjoyed broad political backing from Michigan lawmakers. On November 16, 2020, 41 Republican members of the Michigan legislature signed a letter to the Michigan Secretary of State demanding “a full and independent audit of the recent elections before certification of the results” because of “serious allegations … which cannot and should not be ignored”. The letter regurgitates a long list of baseless claims by Trump, including allegations that election officials âcounted ineligible ballots; counted the same batches of ballot papers several times; asked poll workers to backdate mail ballots; counting late ballots after having unlawfully predated them; [and] used false information to process ballots â.
On January 4, 2021, 11 Republican members of the Michigan legislature wrote a letter demanding “that the United States Congress and federal law enforcement agencies, to the extent of their legal capacity, conduct an objective and transparent investigation into credible allegations of misconduct in the 2020 election.”
Of course, there were no credible allegations and Trump’s efforts to overturn the election result were unsuccessful. But, at Trump’s request, his allies in the Michigan legislature have introduced dozens of bills aimed at restricting voting in future elections. Several of these invoices were sent to the office of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She vetoed everyone.
But Trump’s allies in Michigan have not given up. Members of the state legislature are now seeking to impose several new restrictions on voting through an obscure process that would not be vetoed by Whitmer. These members are supported by millions of campaign contributions from businesses, including businesses that claim to oppose Republicans’ efforts to restrict voting in Michigan.
How to bypass voters in Whitmer and Michigan
To sidestep Whitmer’s opposition to voter restriction laws, conservative activist group Secure MI Vote is proposing a voting measure to restrict the vote. While Michigan already requires ID to vote, the Secure MI Vote initiative would eliminate the ability for those who cannot present ID to sign an affidavit. The proposal also restricts the way in which postal ballots can be sent. As part of this initiative, election officials will be prohibited from sending candidates or postal ballots to those who have not requested them.
In Michigan, citizens can present an initiative on a ballot if they collect a certain threshold of signatures – at least “8% of the votes cast for the governor in the last election to the post of governor”. For 2022, “340,047 valid signatures are requiredBefore the proposal could appear on Michigan’s ballot. But even if those signatures are collected, the initiative will likely not appear on any ballot. The state legislature is able to pass the proposed initiative by simple majority before a public vote takes place. And legislation passed in this way is not vetoed by the governor.
This is the strategy that Secure MI Vote is pursuing. At the end 58 years old, only nine initiatives became law in this way. In March Michigan GOP President Ron Weiser noted that he planned to take the voting restriction bills that did not become law and collect “the signatures necessary for a legislative initiative so that it can become law without the signature of Gretchen Whitmer.”
ohf of the 11 lawmakers who signed the letter to Congress in January 2021 calling for an investigation into voter fraud, 10 have also sponsored new voter suppression bills across Michigan. Based on data provided by the MI Defend Black Voters Coalition, Popular Information revealed that these 10 lawmakers have received $ 1,375,585 in corporate donations since 2018.
Twenty-four of the 41 lawmakers who called for an independent audit of voter fraud in November 2020 have subsequently sponsored new voter suppression bills in Michigan. Popular Information analysis found that those 24 lawmakers have received $ 2,199,455 in corporate donations since 2018.
Many of the top corporate donors to these lawmakers have publicly defended voting rights in Michigan and other states. Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, signed a declaration in April who opposed “Republican-sponsored election bills that would make voting more difficult.”
“The government must support fair access to the ballot to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise their rights,” the statement said. noted. “The government must avoid actions that reduce voter turnout – especially among historically disenfranchised communities, people with disabilities, the elderly, racial minorities and low-income voters.”
Popular Information analysis found that Ford has donated $ 64,600 since 2018 to 48 Michigan lawmakers who sponsored voter suppression bills after the 2020 election, including $ 12,000 to lawmakers who signed letters promoting allegations of fraud.
Ford declined to say whether he supported the poll’s initiative or whether he would continue to help Michigan lawmakers seeking to restrict the vote. But the company sent Popular Information the following statement:
With regard to voting rights, Ford’s position is clear: we believe that equitable access to the right to vote for all is the foundation of a democratic societyâ¦ We continue to urge elected officials across the country to working together in a bipartisan way to protect and strengthen the right to vote. Our Pac employee makes bipartite contributions based on a variety of considerations important to clients, our team and our business …
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, also signed the letter opposing voter suppression bills in Michigan and other states. Popular Information revealed that GM has donated $ 40,100 since 2018 to 34 lawmakers, both of whom have signed letters promoting fraud allegations and are now pushing voter suppression bills. GM has donated a total of $ 83,950 since 2018 to 48 lawmakers who sponsored bills that would make it harder to vote in Michigan.
When asked about the company’s support, a GM spokesperson pointed out another declaration than Barra job in April, which “urged state lawmakers across the United States to protect and strengthen ‘the right of all eligible voters to have their voices heard in a fair, free and equitable manner.’ GM has not commented on its donations to Michigan lawmakers who support voter suppression bills.
Last week, the MI Defend Black Voters Coalition, a coalition of militant groups working to end voter suppression, released a commitment who called on Michigan businesses to “pledge to end all financial support for lawmakers supporting voter suppression.”
âThese companies have made statements in favor of Black Lives Matter or against voter suppression,â Jennifer Disla, Defend Black Voters Coalition co-chair, Recount Michigan Advance. âYet behind closed doors, these same companies are calling for tax breaks and anti-labor legislation by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to elected officials who are working to suppress the black vote. Money speaks louder than words.
Judd Legum is the founder and author of Popular information, an independent newsletter dedicated to accountability journalism, where this article originally appeared