The Michigan Republican Party falsely suggested Wednesday that ballots may have been stolen from an unlocked drop-off box in Lansing, an easily disputable claim that could land the GOP in trouble.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office tells Metro Times it’s reviewing the matter after state election officials alleged the misinformation was “likely intended to suppress voting.”
Republicans' erroneous claim stems from a video that shows a man opening the rear of an unlocked ballot box and revealing a single envelope that clearly is not a ballot.
“I can go right up to the back of it, open the fucking thing up, and there are ballots,” a man taking the video says.
Republicans said the video was taken two weeks ago, before the first absentee ballots were even sent to voters.
Nevertheless, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox feigned outrage in a news release, helping fuel to President Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracy theory that mail-in voting is going to lead to widespread fraud.
“This is evidence that our election system has potentially been compromised,” Cox said. “I am calling on Secretary Benson to launch a full investigation into this incident, to determine if any ballots were stolen or tampered with, and to ensure this never happens again. I stand with President Trump in his fight for the free, fair election Michiganders, and all Americans, deserve.”
State and city of Lansing election officials said the assertion was baseless and irresponsible.
“The claim there were ‘ballots inside’ is easily disproven by their own video,” Michigan Department of State spokesman Jake Rollow said. “By sharing blatantly false statements in the press release, they are irresponsibly spreading misinformation likely intended to suppress voting among Michigan citizens.”
Voter suppression is a state and federal crime.
Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said the video was taken on the same day the drop-off box was installed, and it was locked before voters received absentee ballots.
“Drop boxes are a safe and secure way to vote; we have security cameras on all the ones we have installed this year,” Swope said.
The Michigan Republican Party has not responded to a request for comment.
The FBI posted a nine-minute video on social media to assure voters that the election system is safe as Trump and his allies continue to spread misinformation about mail-in voting.
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