In the key battleground state of Michigan, a Democrat city official is being charged with ballot tampering during the 2018 mid-term elections.
Southfield City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins faces six felony counts over “unauthorized and inaccurate” changes that she allegedly made to absentee ballots last year. Liberal state officials are attempting to categorize Hawkins’ behavior as a “rare” case of fraud.
“Voting is fundamental to the very essence of our democracy,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said during a press conference on Monday. “It is incumbent upon state governments to safeguard the electoral process and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected.”
Hawkins is being accused of illegally altering 193 absentee voter records. The evidence of her wrongdoing was allegedly spotted during the 14-day canvass following the election. Irregularities were initially discovered by the Oakland County Clerk’s Office, which prompted the investigation resulting in Hawkins being charged.
According to an affidavit filed by state police, Oakland County Elections Director Joseph Rozell noticed some inconsistencies with the ballots while certifying absentee precincts in Southfield. Rozell “contacted Hawkins when he noticed that ballot summary sheets were blank.”
After questioning Hawkins about the errors, he noted “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.”
“It appears that Hawkins had switched her original reports with altered reports,” wrote Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Larissa LaMay in the report.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who formerly served on the board of directors for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), maintains that “there were no voters that were disenfranchised” by Hawkins’ actions.
“All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted and the final official vote total was accurate,” Benson said.
Benson has announced that the state Bureau of Elections will work with the clerk’s office in Southfield to ensure that the upcoming elections this year on Nov. 5 will be officiated properly while Hawkins is placed on administrative leave.
“Our elections are the foundation of our democracy, and under my and Attorney General Nessel’s administration there will be no tolerance for any actions that undermine that foundation – anywhere, anytime, by any person or official,” Benson said.
Hawkins is considered a Democrat Party leader in high standing in the state of Michigan. She received the Dingell/Levin Award at the Michigan Democrat Party’s Legacy Dinner in Detroit just a few months ago.
The Michigan Democratic Party @MichiganDems gave Southfield City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins the Dingell/ Levin Award on May 18 of this year. 🚨Today, the Michigan Attorney General charged her with SIX Felonies including "Falsifying Returns/Records" & "Forgery of a Public Record"🚨 pic.twitter.com/m6suNRGNk8
— Michigan Rising Action (@MIRisingAction) September 23, 2019
Michigan Democrats are now scurrying to disavow a disgraced public official who was recently considered a rising star in their party fold.
“Absentee ballots will start to go out this week for the upcoming November municipal election and Secretary Benson has removed Clerk Hawkins from administering this election,” said state Sen. Jeremy Moss and Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden, two Democrats who represent Southfield in the Michigan state legislature, in a joint statement.
“We can assure our Southfield neighbors that their votes will be counted,” they added.
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