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Protesters: Macomb County employee who urged crowd to "storm the capitol" on Jan. 6th should be fired

Macomb County community activists
Progress Michigan
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Community activists gather for a protest against the hiring of 2020 election denier Genevieve Peters, who urged the crowd on January 7th to "storm the Capitol."

On January 6th, 2020, election denier and right-wing activist Genevieve Peters rode a bus with other Trump supporters from Michigan to Washington DC.

Once there, she was among a group of speakers who urged the crowd to march on the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress were preparing to certify the election results of the 2020 election.

"When we have breached the Capitol, go up to the stairs," she said while standing on a platform above the crowd. "Move forward."

"They can't arrest us all," said another speaker. Peters added, "And if they did, there is no greater cause than to be arrested for freedom."

There is no evidence that Peters herself joined the insurrectionists in the violent attack on the Capitol that followed. Instead, she returned to Michigan, and was later hired by Republican Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini to help recruit poll workers for the August primary and November general election.

"It sounds so ridiculous to even say out loud," said Rhonda Powell, a staff member of the progressive organization We the People. "But it's unacceptable to have her anywhere near our election process. You go to that extent to prove you don't trust our election process, I think it goes without saying that you should not have any role in monitoring the process."

But in interviews with national and local media outlets, Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini has consistently defended the decision to hire Peters to help with the county's outreach to new poll workers. He said she had a strong background in teaching elections procedures.

Forlini said his employees can have their personal beliefs without it affecting their jobs. He also told the Macomb Daily that he believes it is more constructive in the long run for election deniers to work in elections for the government to better understand the process.

But Powell says having an election denier play such a key role in Macomb County elections will only increase distrust in the election results in November.

Peters could not be reached for comment. Forlini did not respond to Michigan Radio's requests for an interview.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.