Michigan Republicans dealt a blow to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in a report released Wednesday, but they’re moving forward with a set of bills to restrict voting access anyway.
The state Senate Oversight Committee dropped a 55-page report on Wednesday, co-authored by the committee’s four members, including chair Edward McBroom, a Republican. The lone Democrat on the committee, Jeff Irwin, voted against adopting the report because he opposes Republicans voter suppression efforts, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,” the report says. “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 Michigan Senate’s finding dealt a blow to Trump’s push for other states to replicate the Arizona Senate’s bogus ongoing audit in Maricopa County. Though President Joe Biden defeated Trump by more than 150,000 votes in Michigan, Trump has continued to claim, using debunked “evidence,” that Michigan’s election was ridden with fraud.
He’s also put pressure on Michigan Republicans to conform to this view. “Has the Michigan State Senate started their review of the Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 yet, or are they about to start?” Trump said in a statement last month. “If not, they should be run out of office.”
Most of the claims of fraud centered around Antrim County, a conservative county in the northern part of the state, where early results showed President Joe Biden winning. Though the discrepancy was blamed on human error and quickly corrected to reflect that Trump won the county by more than 20 points, it fueled conspiracies about the legitimacy of the results.
“Without any evidence to validate those fears, another audit, a so-called forensic audit, is not justifiable,” McBroom wrote, while noting he was keeping a “close eye “on the Arizona audit.
Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson praised McBroom’s “commitment to the truth” in a Wednesday tweet.
“My hope is that his fellow GOP lawmakers follow his lead, affirm the integrity of our elections, cease attempts to deceive citizens with misinformation and abandon legislation based on lies that undermine our democracy,” she said.
But Michigan Republicans have done the opposite of that. On Wednesday, after the report became public, the Michigan House passed a set of bills tightening the state’s voter ID law. The Michigan Senate passed those bills last week, as well as another one attaching voter ID requirements to absentee ballots.
The bills are part of a package of 39 bills that Democrats say are designed to suppress voting. McBroom justified the push to rewrite election law, writing in the report that “citizens should demand reasonable updates and reforms to close real vulnerabilities and unlawful activities that caused much of the doubt and questionability to flourish and could, if unchecked, be responsible for serious and disastrous fraud or confusion in the future.”
The bills are opposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. Whitmer’s office told the Detroit Free Press Wednesday that she “has been clear that she will protect Michiganders’ right to vote and veto any attempt to make it harder for people to exercise those rights.”