Michigan Legislature may give subpoena power for election investigation

House Speaker says the request will be approved next week
Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield
Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 11:41 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan House Oversight Committee may receive subpoena power to continue investigating the 2020 elections.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican from Levering, announced in a tweet Wednesday morning that the House next week “will vote to authorize subpoena power for the Oversight Committee.” That would allow the committee to compel officials to testify.

Republican State Rep. Matt Hall of Marshall, who is chairman of the Oversight Committee, and other Republicans have requested subpoena powers as the investigation continues, Chatfield said.

Chatfield noted there have been “an unusually high number of allegations of fraud” since the Nov. 3 election. He wants questions to be answered and doesn’t want to see any potential evidence destroyed.

The Trump campaign has alleged fraud in the election process and filed several lawsuits seeking to stop Michigan from certifying its results or overturn the final tally. As of Wednesday, every ruling from state and federal judges has gone against the campaign.

Separately, the Michigan Bureau of Elections announced plans for what it calls the most comprehensive post-election audit in the state’s history.

The Secretary of State’s Office is planning a “complete zero-margin risk-limiting audit” in Antrim County, where initial results showed Democrat Joe Biden with a landslide win. The results later changed to show President Donald Trump with a decisive win in the county, which officials blamed on an issue with vote tabulating machines.

State officials also are planning audits in 200 other voting jurisdictions across Michigan, including absentee ballot counting boards.

“I am a longstanding proponent of post-election audits to review election procedure and affirm public confidence in our elections,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “By conducting the most comprehensive set of audits in our state’s history, the Bureau of Elections and Michigan’s more than 1,600 local election clerks are demonstrating the integrity of our election.”

The audits include hand counting a random sample of ballots to ensure that automated tabulating machines operated correctly. Similar audits after the March 10 primary this year showed the machines are accurate.

Benson hopes the Antrim County audit will be complete in December while the random sample audits will be complete by mid-January.

“Clerks across the state carried out an extremely successful election amidst the challenges created by record-breaking turnout and more than double the absentee ballots ever before cast in our state, a global pandemic, and the failure of the Michigan Legislature to provide more than 10 hours for pre-processing of absentee ballots,” said Benson.

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