Michigan Trump supporters to launch ballot drive for ‘forensic audit’ of 2020 election

Protesters call for a "forensic audit" of the 2020 presidential election, during a demonstration by a group called Election Integrity Fund and Force outside of the Michigan State Capitol, in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
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Paul Egan Detroit Free Press (TNS)

LANSING, Mich. — Backers of former President Donald Trump will launch a ballot drive to require a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election, a rally in Lansing was told Tuesday.

Jon Rocha of Portage, a Republican who is running against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said he expects paperwork for the legislative initiative to be filed with the Board of State Canvassers next week.

“This is how a revolution begins,” Rocha told several hundred people gathered on the Capitol lawn.

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If about 340,000 valid signatures are collected and the measure is approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, “it is absolutely veto-proof,” Rocha said. “That’s the best part about it.” Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “cannot stop this bill.”

Should lawmakers fail to act on the measure, it would go to voters at the November 2020 election, he said.

Though ill-defined, a “forensic audit” is the phrase that has been embraced by large numbers of Michigan residents, and those in other states, unhappy with the result of the 2020 presidential election, in which President Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeated Trump, a Republican. Biden won 306 to 232 in the Electoral College and by more than 7 million popular votes.

In other jurisdictions, a forensic audit has been defined to go beyond ballots and include election tabulators and poll books. Former state senator Patrick Colbeck, a Canton Township Republican who spoke at Tuesday’s rally, said it would be designed to not just count how many ballots were cast, but determine how many of those ballots were legitimate.

Those at Tuesday’s Capitol rally, which received a Friday boost when Trump promoted it in a statement issued by his political action committee, carried signs that said, “Trump won,” “Stop the steal,” and “F— Biden.”

About one hour after the scheduled noon start of the rally, there were an estimated 300 to 400 people on the Capitol lawn, said Lt. Darren Green of the Michigan State Police.

Rocha said the petition drive, called AuditMI.org, would provide for a 16-member board to select a third party to conduct the audit, with the board members randomly selected from precinct delegates from both political parties.

Several private donors have agreed to help fund the effort, Rocha said. He would not name them.

Michigan conducted its most comprehensive set of post-election audits in state history, which confirmed the results of the November election, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in March.

A state Senate committee investigation, chaired by a Republican lawmaker, investigated claims of election fraud in Michigan and found no basis for claims by Trump and others that fraud had impacted the election results.

A recent election audit in Arizona that was described by many as a forensic audit also upheld the results there, finding that Biden’s margin of victory over Trump was even greater than earlier reported.

Rocha has said one of the reasons he wants to unseat Upton is because Upton voted to impeach Trump in January.

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