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Election Deniers, Officials Gear Up for Battle Over US Midterm Elections – Nationwide

Ten election officials sit around a table in the basement of the elections office in Canton, Michigan. The building itself has been upgraded with new security measures, and four police officers are now assigned to patrol his 12 polling places in town on midterm election day.

“Since 2020, emergency planning and security planning have been key features of election planning. State Clerk Michael Siegrist, who recently published, said:

Michigan’s Canton Township Clerk Michael Siegrist leads a training session for election officials ahead of the November 8, 2022 US midterm elections. Jeff Semple / Global News.

Siegrist, a Democrat, is one of many Americans from various political parties who see the November 8th midterm elections as an important test for American democracy. And they’ve spent the last two years preparing for battle.

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“Since 2020, there are people doing push-ups, getting stronger, doing everything they can to try to understand the system for the sole purpose of exploring its weaknesses,” said Sigrist Global News. “Before, we only received it from foreign governments.”

Canton County Clerk Michael Siegrist recently issued a manual for maintaining order on Election Day.

Jeff Semple/Global News

Siegrist’s Canton Township is a short drive from Detroit, the epicenter of election fraud conspiracy theories. An angry crowd as poll workers were counting ballots in response to Donald Trump’s call to “stop counting” in Detroit, November 5, 2020, one day after his last US presidential election. broke into his TCF Convention Center.

Chris Thomas, who worked as an election supervisor at the TCF Center, said, “There was an influx of people who hadn’t been trained[for elections]and were very intent on trying to stop things.” Banging on windows and yelling at workers, so we had a bit of a chaotic time.”

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Trump supporters gather outside the TCF Center in Detroit on November 4, 2020.

Jeff Semple/Global News

Thomas, 73, has dedicated his life to electoral integrity. He spent nearly 40 years leading the elections department in the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, serving for both Republicans and Democrats and building a reputation as a nonpartisan election expert.

He retired in 2017, but was asked to return to special duty in 2020 amid President Trump’s warnings about the COVID-19 pandemic and a Democratic conspiracy to steal the election. Thomas plans to retire again on Nov. 8 to protect the process from “election deniers.”

“That’s a big concern,” said Thomas. “It’s a real move. It’s substantial, they’re vocal, and some of them are pretty smart about what they’re trying to do.”

Veteran elections officer Chris Thomas speaks with Global News reporter Jeff Semple near his home in western Michigan.

global news

Various “stop theft” groups that have risen in the wake of the 2020 election are encouraging their supporters to organize armed stakeouts at dropbox voting locations. He held training sessions for “watchers” and “vote challengers” who instructed them to covertly and illegally take videos and photographs inside polling places.

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“It’s not just Republicans and Democrats who have challengers (of polls),” Thomas said. “There are other groups, some of them Republican factions with challengers. And they are more aggressive.”

Ryan Kelley was one of the 2020 “Stop the Steal” protesters at the TCF Center in Detroit. Michigan’s former GOP gubernatorial candidate has been indicted on misdemeanor charges related to the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. He pleads not guilty to the charges.

Speaking about the upcoming midterm elections, Kelly said, “Election officials and vote challengers are urged to understand the election laws so as not to be caught off guard and to monitor the process to ensure it is done right.” rice field.

A man identified as Ryan Kelley in an affidavit by an FBI agent is seen by supporters of President Donald Trump on the barriers of the U.S. Capitol during protests against Congress’ recognition of the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Gesturing as you pass by. , Washington, USA, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart.

When asked by Global News if he still believed the 2020 election was stolen, Kelly was clear. .

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Trump lost to Michigan by 154,000 votes. The results were confirmed by more than 250 state and local audits and a Republican-led state Senate report that “found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud.”

But like Kelly, many Republican candidates running for national or statewide office have made “stop stealing” election fraud claims a central theme of their campaigns. In some cases, these candidates are running for public office, such as secretary of state, to help oversee future elections.

In Michigan, election naysayer Christina Caramo is the Republican nominee for Secretary of State. She worked as a poll challenger in Detroit in 2020, questioning the legitimacy of Michigan’s election, before claiming without proof that she witnessed fraud at Detroit’s Absentee Counting Board, drawing attention. Her claims garnered interviews on national conservative talk shows and endorsements from former President Trump.

Former President Donald Trump, left, listens to Michigan Republican nominee Christina Caramo during a rally in Warren, Michigan, October 1, 2022. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File).

Karamo, a former community college instructor, has previously made headlines by likening abortion to child sacrifice and arguing that homosexual relationships reflect society’s “gender breakdown.”

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Her campaign did not respond to a request for an interview from Global News. including requesting.

The Republican candidates for Michigan’s Attorney General and Governor have also denied the results of the 2020 election. If elected, they have the power to change the rules of future elections. The Secretary of State also has the power to refuse to certify exact election results, which can lead to lawsuits in state and federal courts.

“Then the whole system starts to degrade,” says Thomas. A veteran bipartisan election official told Global News he fears candidates will introduce rules aimed at suppressing voters under the guise of electoral integrity.

“It’s not like going into a coup with tanks in the streets. One day you will wake up and the laws that have been enacted, the barriers that have been put in place, the people that are running elections right now will really believe in today’s possibilities and give you the faith. It’s just a conspiracy.”

Election Deniers, Officials Gear Up for Battle Over US Midterm Elections – Nationwide

Source link Election Deniers, Officials Gear Up for Battle Over US Midterm Elections – Nationwide

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