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Nessel and Benson announce outcome after investigation into election fraud

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have released the outcome of the three investigations that took place in relation to attempted voter fraud.

The outcomes, which resulted in charges against all three individuals, prove that the state’s election security of checks and balances catches these instances.

“These cases highlight the scrutiny applications and ballots undergo throughout the election process, as well as the thorough investigative process that ensues when instances of attempted fraud are suspected,” Nessel said.

Nessel said that collaborative investigations like this, help to maintain the integrity of elections. She said that they will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who attempts to undermine the elections.

“Our election system is secure, and today’s charges demonstrate that in the rare circumstances when fraud occurs we catch it and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Benson said.

Benson is hopeful that these charges result in a clear message to those who think they can attempt voter fraud.

“These charges also send a clear message to those who promote deceitful claims about widespread fraud: the current protocols we have in place work to protect and ensure the integrity of our elections. It’s time to share that truth and stop spreading lies to the contrary.”

When reports of voter fraud are found, it is said that they are often reported to local law enforcement or the Michigan Bureau of Elections for initial investigation.

In this case, charges against Trenae Myesha Rainey in Macomb County began in October 2020 when the Centerline Clerk contacted the Michigan Bureau of Elections after a stack of nearly two dozen absentee voter applications were dropped off.

Officials said that while crosschecking the signatures on the applications dropped off by Rainey, it was noticed that the signatures did not match.

The applications came from an assisted-living facility in the area, Father Murray Nursing Home. Investigators later determined that the applications were for residents who had not even told staff they wanted to vote in the 2020 General Election.

It is said that Rainey, 28, a facility employee at Father Murray Nursing Home, did not even contact the residents, but filled out the applications and forged the resident’s signature to each application.

She then turned the applications over to another employee who was told to deliver the applications to the Centerline Clerk.

Investigators determined that Rainey decided herself where the residents should be registered and whether the resident should be provided with an absent voter ballot, without consulting the resident first.

Rainey has been charged in Macomb County’s 37th District Court with the following:

  • three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies; and
  • three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot applications, a five-year felonies.

Arraignment has not yet been scheduled for Rainey.

Charges against Carless Clark in Wayne County come after the Michigan Bureau of Elections contacted the Enforcement Division of DOS to investigate a case of double voting during the 2020 General Election.

In April of 2021, a signature review of a returned absentee ballot to the Detroit City Clerk determined the signature did not match the registered voter’s signature. It is said that the registered voter also voted at his polling location on Election day.

Investigators determined that the grandmother of the registered voter, Carless Clark, 59, returned his absentee ballot by mail despite her grandson voting in person.

Clark admitted to officials that she signed her grandson’s absentee ballot, telling them that she was concerned he would not have time to vote on Election Day.

Clark has been charged with in the Wayne County’s 36th District Court with the following:

  • one count of election law – impersonating another to vote at an election, a four-year felony; and
  • one county of election law forgery, a five-year felony.

Arraignment is not yet scheduled for Clark.

Charges against Nancy Juanita Williams in both Wayne and Oakland counties come after the Michigan Bureau of Elections became concerned about possible election fraud after receiving similar inquiries from local election administrators through the Qualified Voter File Help Desk.

In October of 2020, the inquiries surrounding an application for absentee ballots signed with an “X” requested that the ballot be mailed to the business address of Guardian and Associates in Oak Park.

It is said that after discussing the matter with State elections officials, The Michigan Bureau of Elections referred the review to The Michigan State Police for a criminal investigation.

Investigators determined that, Nancy Juanita Williams, 55, a guardian to 26 legally incapacitated people, created a plan to control absentee ballots for those under her care.

She fraudulently submitted 26 absentee ballot applications to nine identified city and township clerks, planning to have each absentee ballots for those 26 individuals mailed directly to her.

Officials also said that she also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person, all of which had no knowledge, consent or ability to vote.

The Michigan State Police referred the case to The Department of Attorney General in May 2021 for charges.

Williams has been charged with the following in five courts:

  • 28th District Court (City of Southgate) – Wayne County one count of false statement in absentee ballot application, a 90-day misdemeanor; one count of forging signature on absentee ballot application, a five-year felony; and one count of election law forgery, a five-year felony.
  • 17th District Court (Redford Township) – Wayne County two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot, five-year felonies; and two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.
  • 18th District Court (City of Westland) – Wayne County three counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot, five-year felonies; and three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.
  • 29th District Court (City of Wayne) – Wayne County two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot, five-year felonies; and two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.
  • 46th District Court (City of Southfield) – Oakland County six counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; six counts of forging signature on absentee ballot, five-year felonies; and six counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

The only case in which an arraignment has been scheduled for Williams is in Redford’s 17th District Court on Nov. 2 at 8:45 a.m.

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