VOTER FRAUD: Michigan city clerk faces six felony charges related to altering hundreds of 2018 midterm ballots
VOTER FRAUD: Michigan city clerk faces six felony charges related to altering hundreds of 2018 midterm ballots byfor The Daily Sheeple
Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins was charged Monday with six election fraud felonies in connection with the November 2018 election.
Hawkins, 38, allegedly altered 193 absentee voter records, but the changes did not have an impact on the election results in the city, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.
“I want to be clear, the allegations that the Southfield clerk falsified official election records did not alter the outcome of any election,” she said. “There were no races that were won or lost as a result, and there were no voters who are disenfranchised. All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted and the final official vote total was accurate.”
According to a Michigan State Police affidavit describing the crime, Oakland County elections officials discovered the issue during a post-election audit of Southfield’s election results.
Hawkins was charged with falsifying returns or records; forgery of a public record; misconduct in office, and three counts of using a computer to commit a felony. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. She was arraigned Monday in 46th District Court and faces an Oct. 15 preliminary examination.
Neither Nessel nor Benson would elaborate on the specifics of the charges or Hawkins’ motivation during a news conference Monday, but according to the affidavit, the post-election audit turned up irregularities between the number of absentee ballots recorded in returns initially turned in to the Oakland County Clerk’s Office and the vote tallies in the Qualified Voter File, which is the master list of voters in the city
There also were differences in the initial reports from Southfield and subsequent documentation from the city.
“It appeared from the report that the ballot return dates for voters were added or removed from the report in order to force the reports to balance to the number of ballots tabulated for each precinct on Election Night,” the affidavit said.
When Oakland County asked for ballot reports from Southfield, “it appeared that Hawkins had switched out her original reports with the altered reports,” the affidavit said.
Harold Gurewitz, a Detroit attorney representing Hawkins, said he wasn’t provided the affidavit by the Attorney General’s Office, so he couldn’t address the specific charges.
“We look forward to the opportunity to aggressively defend this in court and ultimately to vindicate Ms. Hawkins,” he said. “I look forward to seeing how they intend to prove that these discrepancies are actually crimes.”
According to a statement from the city of Southfield, “The city does not have all of the facts at this time and there will be no rush to judgment. The City will also be conducting a thorough internal investigation and review of these charges.”
The statement also noted that “Mrs. Hawkins will be on administrative leave with pay at this time.”
Hawkins was the Pontiac City Clerk before winning the Southfield clerk’s slot in 2017, beating two challengers by a wide margin. City elections are nonpartisan, but Southfield is an overwhelmingly Democratic city.
“There are few places where the integrity of our public officials is more important than in the administration of Michigan’s election system,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Voting is fundamental to the very essence of our democracy.”
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