LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State Senate Republicans
who spent months investigating Michigan
's 2020 presidential election
concluded there was no widespread or systemic fraud and urged the state attorney general to investigate people
who made baseless allegations about the results in Antrim County
to raise money
or publicity "for their own ends."
In a 55-page report released Wednesday, the Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee stated that citizens should be confident that the election's outcome represents the "true results." Democrat Joe Biden
defeated then-President Donald Trump
in the battleground state by about 155,000 votes
, or 2.8 percentage points.
Trump and his supporters have promoted debunked conspiracy
theories as well as false information about voter fraud.
“The committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain,” the panel wrote days after Republican activists requested a “forensic” audit of the election in the style of Arizona
The committee's three Republicans did recommend legislation to address "real vulnerabilities" in future elections
. Election-related bills are currently pending in the GOP-controlled Legislature, including proposed tougher photo ID rules that the Senate passed last week and the House
amended and approved Wednesday, but Democratic
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
will veto them if they reach her desk.
Election night results in northern Michigan's rural Antrim County, which has about 23,000 residents, initially showed a local victory for Biden over Trump, but this was attributed to human error, not machine issues, and was corrected. A hand recount
revealed no signs of shenanigans.
“We will review the report in its entirety to determine whether a criminal investigation
is appropriate,” said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Dana Nessel, of the call to investigate individuals who lied about what happened in Antrim.
The report singled out Mike Lindell
, the MyPillow
creator-turned-conspiracy peddler; lawyer Matthew DePerno, who unsuccessfully sued the county on behalf of a resident; and ex-state Sen. Patrick Colbeck.
The report denied a number of allegations, including that many dead people voted, that hundreds of thousands of unsolicited absentee ballots were mailed to Michigan voters
, that absentee ballots were counted multiple times, and that tens of thousands of fraudulent absentee ballots were "dumped" at Detroit
's counting center after the polls closed.
Drop boxes should not be used or closed before 8 p.m. on election night, according to the panel's Republicans, so that processing and tabulating the ballots contained in them does not take too long. Democrats
have said the move would disenfranchise some voters.
“The committee’s report goes into considerable detail... and I hope the public is reassured by the security
and protections already in place, motivated to support necessary reforms to make it better, and grateful for our fellow citizens who do the hard work
of conducting our elections,” said committee chair Sen. Ed McBroom, a Vulcan Republican.
Sen. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, the committee's lone Democrat, pointed out that its two other members were among 11 Republican senators who asked Congress
to investigate "credible" allegations of election fraud
on Jan. 4, two days before the committee met to certify Biden's victory amid the deadly insurgency by Trump supporters
at the Capitol
“It is unfortunate that the Michigan Legislature participated in the circus, parading witnesses who were not credible or who pressed obvious falsehoods in order to promote the lie that Michigan’s results were tainted,” he said. “However, it is my fervent hope that we, as a legislative body
, can finally focus our energy
on getting help to our residents who need it most after such a tumultuous year f
David Eggert can be found on Twitter