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Trump supporters gather at Capitol to demand full, forensic election audit

October 13, 2021
<p>Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno addresses the crowd calling for a full, forensic audit of the 2020 election on Oct. 12 at the Michigan Capitol. </p>

Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno addresses the crowd calling for a full, forensic audit of the 2020 election on Oct. 12 at the Michigan Capitol.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

Supporters of former President Donald Trump gathered at the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday as they demanded a “transparent forensic audit” of the 2020 election.

The 2020 election, which has been proven as safe and secure by more than 250 audits conducted by county, city and township clerks, has been long contested by Trump and some of his supporters who claim that direct fraud caused him to lose.

Around 500 supporters attended the event that was sponsored by various Michigan election integrity organizations and promoted by Trump himself. Supporters held various signs supporting the former president and criticizing President Joe Biden, who many attendees said they believe was elected illegitimately.

In attendance and featured as a speaker was Mellissa Carone, a candidate for the Michigan State House of Representatives who received brief fame following her testimony to the Michigan legislature alongside former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in the wake of the 2020 election.

Carone said she witnessed fraud by the voting machine company. In her speech at the event, she underlined the points made in her testimony about the fraudulence of Biden’s victory in Michigan. 

“We know our legislators are not being a good voice for us — they are not a voice for us, they are not on our side,” Carone said.

Carone was one of the first speakers to call for a forensic audit of the 2020 election, similar to the one that occurred in Arizona in September. However, she said she was skeptical about the outcome of Arizona’s audit and how a similar result could occur in Michigan.

“I would say that the same exact thing that happened in Arizona was gonna happen here,” Carone said. “I am assuming that they're going to take those results, and they are going to hand them over to the Attorney General in Michigan. Now, if that happens, it’s tragic that our attorney general's not gonna do anything — she's gonna throw them out.”

Carone said she did not believe that a fair audit could be carried out by the state’s current Democratic administration. 

“Michigan is being led by a bunch of communists,” Carone said. “That's (Gov. Gretchen) Whitmer. That's (Secretary of State Jocelyn) Benson. That's (Attorney General Dana) Nessel. And if we don't get rid of them, we're totally screwed.”

Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for Michigan governor who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, conveyed similar concerns about the state of Michigan’s political system. 

“America needs to have some strong leaders right now to be able to step into the positions where we can make some real influence on our nation to restore our constitutional republic,” Kelley said. “So many of those people elected to office right now, they are not holding up to their oath of office, they are not upholding our Constitution the way that they should ... And I see very clearly what's going on — these people, the elite ruling class, they are interested in power, they're interested in control over the people. And that's not what America is about.”

Kelley said Benson “acted illegally” in the way that she handled mail-in ballots.

“The entire election was invalid, if you want to look at it from the aspect of that court ruling there,” Kelley said. “I think it should be looked at to redo the entire election in Michigan in a legal manner.”

Kelley is referencing a March case in which it was ruled that Benson’s guidance on signature verification for absentee ballots was invalid.

Benson denounced the event in a statement on Twitter, saying that it was “disgraceful” to see the protest occurring. She further stated that the 2020 election results have been affirmed by more than 1,500 election clerks and 250 audits conducted by county professionals.

U.S. House of Representatives candidate Jon Rocha, who is running for the Kalamazoo seat, spoke at the event as well. He stressed the importance of election audits as a nonpartisan issue and explained how the process of a forensic audit would play out in the legislature. 

“The point of the law is never to bring Trump back in office,” Rocha said. “The point of the law is to hold people accountable, fix the issues that people say that need to be fixed.”

Jacky Eubanks, a 24-year-old recent Michigan State alumna, promoted her candidacy for state rep. and discussed fraud she said she saw as an intern working in a clerk’s office. She called on attendees to get involved with election audit processes.

“I, of course, recommend that you get involved in canvassing because what we need to do is wake people up,” Eubanks said. “We need people to know that their name or their address was defrauded. We need to collect those affidavits as proof, and we need to make the proof undeniable. ...The time is now to band together to to fight peacefully and civilly for our freedom and our rights to take back our country. It's either fight now with our voice or fight to save our lives.”

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Other speakers at the event included lawyer and attorney general candidate Matthew DePerno, former State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and State Reps. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers; Matt Maddock, R-Milford; John Reilly, R-Oakland Twp, and Daire Rendon, R-Lake City.


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