“When investigating a crime, you look for motive and opportunity.”
These were the words of Jan BenDor, a Michigan elections worker, who talked to me today about last months election in Detroit – an election which has raised alarm bells across the country for blatant and outright fraudulent actions from groups not yet known.
“What’s the motive?” she said. “Millions and billions of dollars worth of assets and resources. As far as opportunity, they had plenty.”
On August 23, 2013 Detroit Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow filed a petition for an election recount, alleging criminal activity and duplicity on the part of write-in candidate, Mike Duggan and those who supported his primary bid for mayor of the city. Far from being nothing but “the unsupported allegations of a losing candidate,” Barrow’s complaint is backed up by many witnesses and supported by pages of evidence, all of which points to a startling conclusion – the Detroit election, held in August 2013, was rigged.
“The deception involved a multiplicity of events which included the criminal use of hundreds of bogus paid illegal election challengers using forged credentials to gain access to voting Precincts and Absent Voter Counting Boards through out the city. These individuals posed as authentic challengers appointed by Citizens for Fair Elections and were in support of the Mike Duggan Campaign when they had no nexus whatsoever to Citizens for Fair Elections (Exhibit III), all in criminal violation of MCL 168.731(4)2 and MCL 168.733. This crime must be referred to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office pursuant to MCL 168.872.”
Jan BenDor, State Coordinator for Michigan Election Reform Alliance, State-Appointed Elections Administrator and Certified Election Challenger Trainer, verified Barrow’s statements in a telephone interview on September 20, 2013. According to BenDor, the group “Citizens For Fair Elections,” with whom the fake challengers claimed to be associated, was never used for the purpose of training or certifying election challengers. Yet many witnesses encountered the phony challengers, all claiming to be working with the group.
Barrow states (and many witnesses who were present verify) that there were also hundreds of illegal and unqualified Elections Inspectors on the day of the election. These impersonators were hired by an unknown entity, in violation of Michigan law. None were administered the Oath of Office by a state approved agency or organization.
Furthermore Barrow’s complaint says:
“In furtherance of crime the sophisticated organizers recruited these paid challengers using a dead Internet site, established on July 29, 2013. The site contains no identifying ownership or contact information and is set using the URL of http://www.citizensforfairelections.com (Exhibit II). The “dead” URL is controlled by parties unknown and is situated and domiciled on servers in the State of Utah. The secret owners, whoever they may be, have no connection whatsoever to the real legally authorized Citizens for Fair Elections organization approved by the Detroit Elections Department on July 16, 2013. As this is an interstate transaction which results in the payment of money, it violates federal wire fraud laws at 18 USC §1343.”
The filings report that in early August a recruitment ad was being circulated on various social media sites, such as Facebook, offering to hire and pay elections challengers. The ad was not associated with any organization, but included a link that ultimately led to a YouTube video. The video itself was promoting a former Detroit Emergency Manager. The only contact info in the ad was a cell phone number, which interested individuals were told to call. According to Jan BenDor, on the day of the election some of these poll workers claimed that they were being paid $70 a day. The contact number for the hiring party turned out to be untraceable, as did the source of the YouTube video. Attempts to track the information led to a Utah company which provides a service allowing subscribers to hide their personal identities and information.
Later in the complaint Barrow references thousands and thousands of write in ballots with identical handwriting.
“The aggrievement further includes the following additional facts which gave rise to a crime and are included in the fraud and must be reported to the Wayne County Prosecutor pursuant to MCL 168.772 in that:
1) thousands and thousands of write-in ballots, both at the Voting precincts and at the Absent Voter Counting Boards, were witnessed by legal challengers from Citizens for Detroit’s Future to be in the same hand writing and voting for the same two people. These ballots were canvassed as valid when they were bogus and fraudulent;
During my interview with her, BenDor confirmed that there are thousands of duplicate ballots, as Barrow alleges. These ballots were initially certified by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, even though at least one member of the Board clearly objected. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is an appointed, not elected body, whose job is to oversee the integrity of all elections in the state.
The County Board, which represents the city of Detroit, has since been placed in charge of determining what happened during the election. That board is currently overseeing a recount of the ballots. There is continued pressure from the state board to stop the recount, however, suggesting that some on the state Board have political motives, which have little to do with ensuring a fair election for the citizens of Detroit.
Multiple sources who are participating in the official recount have reported that entire cases of supposedly acceptable ballots are in the exact same handwriting. I spoke with Elena Herreda, a citizen of Detroit and elected school board member, who is participating in the recount, Herreda confirms the existence of many duplicate ballots, as well as huge discrepancies between the number of ballots counted, the number of votes recorded and the actual number of ballots inside the cases. “As soon as I saw the ballots, I felt vindicated” she said. “I know Detroit did not vote Duggan.”
BenDor described major violations of state election laws, which occurred across the city. She stressed that what occurred at Cobo Hall on election day was “the worst.” “They could’ve stolen the whole election with just what was done at Cobo Hall,” she told me. Blank ballots were in no way monitored, and at least 125 fake election challengers were given unsupervised access to an unlimited number of blank ballots. BenDor states the ballots were not signed for, and thousands remain unaccounted for. Barrow cites this in his own complaint as well:
2) unused and undistributed blank voting precinct and absentee ballots from each Absent Voter Counting Board and voting precinct, received directly from the printer by election officials, were fraudulently used
3) the number of absent voter applications for each Absent Voter Counting Board is different than the number of ballots cast and many do not correspond with the ballots cast;
Elena Herrada also verified that recount workers, including herself, have observed exactly what Barrow claims. Not only do cases of ballots not match the number of votes counted, they also do not match the official voting record or the official vote count. Additionally, during our phone conversation, Ms. Herrada said that the unused ballots are missing and none of the election officials are able to say what happened to them.
Jan BenDor spent weeks training election workers and election challengers. She explained that once a worker is signed in on the day of the election, they are legally not allowed to leave the polling site until the polls close, in this case at 8 pm. BenDor states that legal election workers were threatened and intimidated on the day of the election. They were ordered to leave the building at 5 pm and they were instructed to sign out as if they had left the building at 8 pm. This means that no legal election workers, observers or challengers were present at the Cobo Hall site after 5 pm.
The fraud appears to have been carried out with the assistance of election officials, who provided the fake challengers with access to the Absent Voter Counting Boards and to the ballot templates, two weeks in advance of the ballot being released to the public.
Illegal challengers, using forged credentials illegally entered the Absent Voter Counting Boards in Cobo Center to facilitate the scheme cited in items (1) through (6);
In furtherance of the fraud, on June 28th, a private citizen was illegally given unauthorized and illegal access to “Official Election Ballot” templates in particular, for voting Precinct 251 (Exhibit IV), complete with the proper candidate name rotation, 14 days prior to the “Official Ballot” even having been printed or legally made available to overseas military absentees;
The media narrative surrounding the Detroit election recount has been relentlessly focused on casting Tom Barrow in a negative light. There has been very little coverage of the allegations or the facts supporting them. Elena Herrada was just leaving the handwriting expert when I spoke with her. He was brought in to analyze the duplicate ballot signatures. When speaking about the lack of media coverage surrounding Detroit’s stolen election Herrada said “All you have to do is look back to the last election and see how they talk about the chances of a write in candidate winning, then compare that to what they are saying now.” She also pointed out how strange it is that, for this local primary election, 105 percent of Detroit’s adult population suddenly registered to vote. Is there any other city in the United States that has obtained even 100 percent adult voter registration? It does seem odd that the media chooses to ignore the fact that the number of registered voters somehow exceeds 100 percent of the adult population. In spite of all that, Elena Herrada says she feels incredibly fortunate to be a witness to what’s happening in her city.
BenDor states that the Michigan election system has no oversight and no accountability. She stressed the fact that many of the problems observed in Detroit’s recent election have been observed in past elections, in many different voting precincts in the state. She said that up until now her organization has been unprepared to deal with the problem. The one thing she says that she has not observed prior to this election, however, is the ballot stuffing. She says ballot stuffing on this scale has not been observed in the state since 1917, when the Women’s Suffrage Amendment first came up for vote.
BenDor told me that the recount is being monitored by court reporters and that referrals have been made to prosecutors, but not on the scale needed. “The recount has only just begun,” she said. “There are a lot of other precincts that still have to be looked at, and what we are seeing now is just a small sampling of the fraud that has been perpetrated on this city.”
Barrow’s complaint is one of eight that were filed with Michigan elections officials, a number that has also not been seen before in the state’s history. Even some candidates who won in their districts, such as a PAC affiliated with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, chose to file complaints, after observing the level of fraud and mismanagement. BenDor says Michigan voters need to realize that there is a wide-spread problem, which state officials and the media have worked diligently to keep hidden from them.
Everyone in the country should be very concerned about the integrity of elections in Michigan. If even one state has such a corrupt system that does not ensure the integrity and fairness of its elections this effects the entire country. The same officials oversee elections for Congress, the United States Senate and for the President. If Detroit’s local elections are allowed to be stolen, there is nothing protecting the integrity of any state or national election, either.