By Charlie McCarthy
The state of Michigan has been asked to conduct an audit of the 2020 election by one of its northern counties, the Detroit News reported.
The board of commissioners in Cheboygan County, which supported former President Donald Trump, voted 4-3 on Tuesday to send a letter to the state elections director requesting a recount and review of whether an “unauthorized computer” manipulated the tallies, according to the News.
In voting to send the letter, the county pointed to ongoing tension among Republicans about Trump’s loss.
Cheboygan County, a small county at the top of the lower peninsula in Michigan with roughly 25,000 residents, voted to support Trump over President Joe Biden 64% to 34%.
Biden won Michigan by 3%, or 154,000 votes — an outcome verified by a series of court rulings, bipartisan boards of canvassers, and dozens of audits performed by election officials, the News said.
Nevertheless, accusations of possible voter fraud have persisted in Michigan and other battleground states.
The GOP-controlled board of commissioners’ letter says the county would engage “an accredited election auditor” if the state approves an audit.
“As commissioners, we have heard from many of our constituents expressing concerns/questions related to the November 3, 2020 election,” according to a copy of the letter posted on the county’s website. “We believe we have a responsibility to address these concerns/questions.”
While speaking to the board in April, attorney Stefanie Lambert Junttila offered to send a team to Cheboygan County to do a so-called “forensic analysis.” That prompted months of discussions.
Citizens spoke both for and against sending the letter during Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting, which drew about 90 people.
“This is a waste of time, and I am ashamed,” Cheboygan resident Rob Ross said. “The machines have been tested and every time the numbers matched the totals. This conspiracy is ridiculous.”
Cheboygan’s Beth Bridgman, one of the most vocal residents pushing for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election, said she opposed the board of commissioners’ letter because she wants a more expansive review of the software and equipment used in the election.
“There’s nobody looking at whether or not the machines are being hacked in real-time,” Bridgman told the News.
It was unclear how the request will be handled by state elections director Jonathan Brater who works for Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Benson repeatedly has defended the integrity of the election. A Benson spokeswoman on Tuesday said the state will review the letter once it’s received and “respond to the commission directly.”
Brater sent a letter to the Cheboygan County in May and said the board itself can’t require local election officials to provide access to their voting equipment for an audit.
“The Michigan election law entrusts clerks with choosing and maintaining their voting systems and does not provide any authority for county commissions to take control of this equipment,” Brater wrote.
Earlier Tuesday, state Rep. Steve Carra introduced a proposal to require a statewide audit of the election in the Michigan House.
Hundreds of Trump supporters gathered in Lansing, Michigan, last week to demand an audit similar to that occurring in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the News said.