LANSING, Mich. — It’s been nearly a year since the November 2020 election, but supporters of former President Donald Trump crowded around Michigan’s Capitol Tuesday, demanding a full “forensic audit” of the election. At the same time, conservative activists spoke about a planned petition drive that would force one.
“We are constantly being told this is the most secure election in U.S. History, then prove it,” said Kristina Karamo, a Trump-endorsed GOP Candidate for Michigan Secretary of State.
Cheers from pro-Trump activists rang out in Lansing, as more than a thousand people rallied in support of auditing an already-decided election, many holding signs that read “Trump Won.” The rally was put on by the grassroots organization, Election Integrity Fund.
“It’s wonderful for all these patriots to be together, its great,” said Kelly Wilson, who came from Howell for the event.
The former president called on so-called “patriots” to attend the Lansing rally, while candidates he’s endorsed for office, like southwest Michigan State Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, were among the speakers demanding an audit.
Carra, now a candidate for U.S. House, says the 250 state-run audits that confirmed President Joe Biden’s win didn’t go far enough and neither did a GOP-led state Senate investigation that found no evidence of widespread systematic fraud in Michigan’s election.
“We need to look beyond the ballot, the poll book, the qualified voter file, the chain of custody and make sure it was done right and where it was done wrong, we need to identify that, we had a system that was ripe with fraud,” Carra told FOX 17 Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Carra introduced a bill that would require a “forensic audit” of the election, but it never gained any traction in the House.
Now there’s a push to force the GOP-led legislature’s hand in conducting one.
“This week we’ll be marching that bill with the help of God and the people of the state, right to the Board of Canvassers and laying it right on Jocelyn Benson’s desk and say we are coming,” said GOP Congressional Candidate Jon Rocha.
Rocha and other grassroots activists plan on collecting more than 350,000 signatures for a petition drive to force an audit of the 2020 election.
After petition language is approved, they hope to begin collecting signatures by the end of November.
Two of the state’s most prominent voices in pushing unsubstantiated claims about election fraud, Trump-endorsed Attorney General Candidate Matt DePerno and former state senator Pat Colbeck are helping with the effort, according to organizers.
“The optics we want to get out here today is we are not going away, we have a constitutional right to a real audit of our election and we are going to get it,” Colbeck told FOX 17.
DePerno and Colbeck accused Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel of infringing on their rights, after her office said they would investigate those who promoted election claims to raise money or their own publicity, on recommendation from the Senate Oversight Committee.
Colbeck told FOX 17 that he hasn’t been contacted by the AG's office.
Meanwhile, Democrats slammed Tuesday’s rally. Michigan House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski saying in a statement, “The behavior we saw today is not just embarrassing for our state, it’s downright dangerous. Efforts like this to undermine faith in our democracy are no longer just about overturning the 2020 election, they’re about eroding trust and laying the groundwork to overturn the next election."
"While these extremists are stuck in the past reliving trump’s loss, democrats are looking to the future and focused on beating back COVID-19 and bringing billions in relief funding home from D.C. to deliver support for working families," Lasinski added.