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MI AG asking federal prosecutors to investigate whether fake electors broke law

person voting
Katie Raymond
/
FILE

Michigan's attorney general is asking federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state's presidential electors despite Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in 2020.

Democrat Dana Nessel disclosed that her office has been evaluating charges for nearly a year but decided Thursday to refer the matter to the U.S. attorney's office in western Michigan.

In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Nessel alleged a "coordinated effort" among Republican parties in several battleground states including Michigan to illegally push so-called alternate slates of electors with fake documents.

In an interview with Michigan Public Radio, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said, “Yes. I do think laws were broken here and I do think there needs to be some sort of accountability.”

Benson said efforts to flip Michigan’s electoral votes to Donald Trump amounted to an attempt to steal votes. The state’s 16 official electoral votes were cast for President Joe Biden, who won Michigan’s popular vote. Benson said, while the effort to usurp the results was unprecedented, similar efforts to misrepresent election results could be tried again.

“If and when that occurs, it becomes a norm,” she said, “then we really have done damage, serious, potential fatal damage to our democracy.”

Benson said she’s also shared information from her office with the House congressional inquiry into the January 6th insurrection. She said the effort to subvert the presidential election crossed state boundaries, which could mean federal laws were broken.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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