LANSING, MI — The Michigan Legislature is continuing its investigation into the November election, but one House Republican said President Donald Trump’s campaign needs to provide evidence to back up its claims of voter fraud or “move on.”
Clerks across the state vouched for the integrity of the November election in a joint oversight hearing days before the Board of State Canvassers certified results showing President-elect Joe Biden earned 154,000 more votes than Trump. The Trump campaign and Republican lawmakers have continued to propagate a variety of unverified claims, many of which have been debunked or attributed to mistakes that had no impact on the election.
Senate Oversight Committee Chairman Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, said legislative oversight committees will continue to interview witnesses next week. A Dec. 1 hearing is scheduled to collect testimony regarding absentee ballot counting at the TCF Center in Detroit.
Related: With the world watching, a Republican state canvasser helps make Biden’s win in Michigan official
House Oversight Committee Chairman Matt Hall, R-Marshall, said it will take more time to review affidavits and line up witnesses. He anticipates another hearing will be scheduled in December.
Trump’s campaign announced Tuesday that the Michigan Legislature will meet for a public hearing on unproven allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. The president’s legal team has been invited to submit written testimony to the House Oversight Committee.
Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis claimed they have evidence of “serious irregularities” and fraud in a number of states. The Trump campaign has failed to prove these claims in lawsuits filed in Michigan and other states.
Hall had hoped to invite Giuliani to testify in Michigan, but logistical issues prevented it. The Trump campaign said Giuliani plans to participate in a Pennsylvania state Senate hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
“I’ve been getting thousands of calls and emails from people who have concerns about this election, and the reason that many of them have those concerns is because of things that Mayor Giuliani said,” Hall said. “He’s saying that he has evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan. It made a lot of sense to try to work it out to have him testify so he could provide this evidence, once and for all. If he has it, he needs to provide it. If he doesn’t have it, then he needs to move on.”
McBroom said he would give “serious consideration” to the benefits of having a Trump campaign representative testify in person or through a written statement.
“The committee accepted a whole bunch of unsolicited testimony last week, so I suppose that if somebody were to send us some written testimony, we would at least consider whether it’s relevant to the testimony of the committee or not,” McBroom said. “As the chairman, I tried to work hard to not waste my members’ time with anybody’s particular testimony.”
The Board of State Canvassers certified the November election results Monday while facing pressure from Trump, U.S. Senate candidate John James and leaders of the state and national Republican Party to delay the certification and investigate “irregularities” in the vote-counting process. James conceded Tuesday night, three weeks after the Nov. 3 election, as certified results showed he trailed Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, by 92,300 votes.
Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater told the board this year’s election was “extremely well run” and no irregularities have been identified, “other than the typical occasional human error that is always part of the process.”
McBroom said he has not seen credible evidence of “large scale fraudulent activities.”
“There are there are certainly some first-hand witness accounts, some through affidavits and some that have called me or spoken to my staff directly, that are troubling,” McBroom said. “They’re not all fraud related. Some of them are just procedural issues or human error issues that we need to take seriously … There’s some small evidences here and there of problems that I think need to be looked into, but I couldn’t yet judge whether they were fraudulent or mistakes or misunderstandings yet.”
Hall said he would like Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
“I want to invite her in,” Hall said. “I see no reason to do that through subpoena. I think that we can probably just ask her, and I’m hopeful that she’ll come in.”
Hall said a majority of the concerns he’s heard are focused on TCF Center in Detroit, where Republican poll challengers allege they weren’t given adequate opportunity to supervise the processing of absentee ballots.
Related: Detroit election lawsuit is moot, Michigan Supreme Court says in rejection
These claims, a component of several unsuccessful lawsuits, were rebuffed by Wayne County election officials and Chris Thomas, a longtime Michigan elections director who helped advise Detroit during the November election.
McBroom hopes the committee can produce a report on its findings and recommendations for how to improve Michigan’s electoral process by the end of the year. The report could be used to guide future legislation, he said.
Hall said issues in Antrim County, where a clerk’s error caused votes to be inaccurately reported before being fixed, “created a national conspiracy” about election software used in other counties across the country. Hall said the error is limited to Antrim County due to a “combination of incompetence and then communication problems” of one clerk.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, told Politico the Legislature should allow early processing of absentee ballots. State law prohibited the processing of absentee votes until 7 a.m. on Election Day, which contributed to the prolonged process of counting mail-in ballots several days after Nov. 3.
Biden formally began the transition process this week after the General Services Administration ascertained him as the apparent winner of the election and opened federal resources to his team. Trump has refused to concede and continues to cast doubt on the election result, writing “RIGGED ELECTION” Wednesday on Twitter.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud,” Giuliani said in a statement. “And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election.”
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