Michigan official warns of ‘5-alarm fire’ for democracy ahead of Trump visit

Michigan’s top election official has issued a dire warning for the future of democracy as former President Donald Trump prepares for a rally in support of his allies in the key swing state.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, made the remarks Wednesday ahead of Trump’s rally this weekend in support of Republican candidates for two offices statewide. Benson said baseless claims by Trump and his allies that widespread voter fraud marred the 2020 election could spill over into the 2022 midterms.

“Threats to our democracy are truly a five-alarm fire and in that fire, Michigan is at ground zero,” Benson said on a press call.

Benson described the “fire” as a “national, multi-faceted, multi-year, coordinated and sophisticated effort to potentially overturn the results of a legitimate presidential election or other elections.”

Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has issued a stark warning for the future of democracy ahead of this weekend’s visit to former President Donald Trump’s key swing state. Above, Benson leaves after voters cast their ballots for the Electoral College in Lansing, Michigan, on Dec. 14, 2020.

Democrat Joe Biden won Michigan in 2020 with 154,000 votes. Although the election results were confirmed by more than 250 audits, Trump continued to claim the vote was rigged.

Kristina Karamo, the Trump-backed candidate for Michigan’s secretary of state in the Republican primary, has repeated accusations of irregularities in the 2020 election. She also sought to join a lawsuit by the state of Texas seeking to overturn the election results.

Mentioning Trump’s upcoming visit, Benson said “election deniers” now want to be in charge of the election. She said misinformation about the election could fuel violence and will continue until those spreading it are held accountable and defeated at the ballot box.

“Democracy is on the ballot this fall,” she said.

Tiffany Muller, president of advocacy group Let America Vote, said Karamo worked to “subvert and sabotage our elections” and propagate “unfounded and dangerous conspiracies”.

Trump is also expected to bow for Matthew DePerno, Republican nominee for attorney general. From Perno said he would “lock up” Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. He also filed lawsuits based on other conspiracy theories that the voting machines were hacked. A Republican-controlled legislative oversight committee called his allegations baseless.

“Donald Trump is coming to Michigan this Saturday to support Ms. Karamo for Secretary of State and Republican nominee Matt DePerno for Attorney General because he knows they will do what he wants, rather than defending our democracy and to defend the will of Michigan voters,” Muller said. “We really have to stop this.”

Muller said Let America Vote along with End Citizens United, a related advocacy group, will spend $7 million in Michigan’s race for secretary of state and attorney general.

Newsweek has reached out to the Karamo and DePerno campaigns for comment.


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