Michigan House grants subpoena power for lawmakers’ election investigation

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 4:54 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan House granted additional power to its Oversight Committee, which is investigating claims of irregularities in the Nov. 3 election.

The House voted Tuesday to give the committee subpoena power, giving members authority to compel witnesses to testify and provide documents. The Oversight Committee plans to begin by issuing subpoenas for documents and election records from Detroit and Livonia.

“Regardless of our political affiliations, we should all agree that we must do more to restore the public’s trust in our voting procedures,” said Republican State Rep. Triston Cole of Mancelona. “We can begin that process by conducting a thorough and complete investigation that gets to the bottom of these reports and delivers the answers voters deserve. The Oversight Committee needs full access to accurate information to make sure that happens.”

He said the Oversight Committee likely will look into Antrim County’s election system after the clerk initially reported a landslide win for Democrat Joe Biden on Election Day even though the county traditionally supports Republicans overwhelmingly.

Final results showed a big victory for President Donald Trump in the county. The discrepancy was blamed on an issue with the ballot counting machines.

Republicans have said the investigation is designed to restore trust and transparency in Michigan’s election system. House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican from Levering, indicated last week that the chamber planned to allow subpoenas in the election investigation.

Oversight Committee Chairman Matt Hall, a Republican from Marshall, sent the following statement after the vote to grant subpoena power:

“I’ve maintained that it is vitally important as we go forward in Michigan to ensure our election procedures are transparent, efficient and trustworthy when people go to the polls. This stance isn’t a partisan one. It’s something we all should strive for.

“It’s also something that people have demanded from their elected representatives following the most recent election. There have been several reports of irregularities in the immediate aftermath that made people question if Michigan’s elections system could be trusted, and if it is both free and fair.

“The House and Senate Oversight Committees have heard testimony and claims about this election. We’ve also heard from officials who have responded to those claims. These additional measures will allow us to look at the evidence and confirm the truth.

“That evidence lies within records, documents and communications from local officials who oversaw election processes in communities where irregularities have been reported. We need to review plans and outlines for Detroit and Livonia’s absent voter counting structure, as well as qualified voter file information and lists of poll workers, their party affiliations and training procedures. Surveillance footage, hard drives and other storage materials such as USB drives can deliver us additional information that will help us see how these elections functioned and where they can operate more efficiently.

“This information can help complete our picture as we work to provide people throughout our state with clarity and answers they deserve – so they can have an elections system that they trust going forward.”

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