Michigan: AG Nessel, SOS Benson Provide Update on New Election Fraud Cases
Michimich.com/10141639

Trending...
Contact: Lynsey Mukomel agpress@michigan.govAgency: Attorney General

October 11, 2021

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are sharing the outcome of three investigations related to attempted voter fraud, which resulted in charges against all three individuals.

The outcomes prove the state's signature matching standards and other election security checks and balances catch instances of wrongdoing, prompt thorough investigations and result in appropriate action.

"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. "I appreciate our partners at the Department of State and Michigan State Police who brought these cases to us. These collaborative investigations assist in maintaining the integrity of our elections. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who attempts to undermine our 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. "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."

Procedurally, reports of voter fraud are often first reported to local law enforcement or the Michigan Bureau of Elections (BOE) for initial investigation, and then routed to the Michigan State Police (MSP) or to Department of Attorney General (DAG) if investigators believe criminal activity occurred.

Charges against Trenae Myesha Rainey - Macomb County

In October 2020, the Centerline Clerk contacted the BOE after a stack of roughly two dozen absentee voter applications were dropped off for processing. While crosschecking the signatures on the applications with voter signatures in the Qualified Voter File (QVF), the clerk noticed the signatures did not match.

A team of DAG investigators was assigned to look into the matter in November 2020.

The applications came from an assisted-living facility in the area - Father Murray Nursing Home. It was further determined the applications were for residents who had not yet told staff if they wished to vote in the 2020 General Election.

Instead, investigators determined Trenae Myesha Rainey, 28, a facility employee, did not contact the residents as set by procedure and instead filled out the applications and forged the resident's signature to each application. She then turned the applications over to another employee who was instructed to deliver the applications to the Centerline Clerk.

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

More on Michimich.com
Rainey is charged with the following in Macomb County's 37th District Court:
  • three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies; and
  • three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot applications, a five-year felonies.

Arraignment is not yet scheduled. Additional information will be available through the court.

Charges against Carless Clark - Wayne County

In April 2021, BOE contacted the Enforcement Division of DOS to investigate a case of double voting during the 2020 General Election. A signature review of a returned absentee ballot to the Detroit City Clerk determined the signature did not match the registered voter's signature in the QVF. That registered voter also voted at his polling location on Election day.

Investigation by the Enforcement Division determined the grandmother of the registered voter, Carless Clark, 59, returned his absentee ballot by mail despite her grandson deciding to vote in person.

The matter was referred to DAG investigators in August.

Clark admitted to signing her grandson's absentee ballot because she was concerned he would not have time to vote on Election Day.

Clark is charged with the following in Wayne County's 36th District Court:
  • 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. Additional information will be available through the court.

Charges against Nancy Juanita Williams - Wayne & Oakland counties

In October 2020, BOE became concerned about possible election fraud after receiving similar inquiries from local election administrators through the QVF Help Desk. The inquiries centered on applications for absentee ballots signed with an "X" and requesting that the ballot be mailed to the business address of Guardian and Associates in Oak Park.

After discussing the matter with State elections officials, BOE referred the review to MSP for a criminal investigation.

Investigators determined the guardian, Nancy Juanita Williams, 55, developed and implemented a plan to obtain and control absentee ballots for legally incapacitated persons under her care by fraudulently submitting 26 absentee ballot applications to nine identified city and township clerks, seeking to have absentee ballots for those individuals mailed directly to her. She also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person - all without knowledge, consent or understanding of the person under her care.

MSP ultimately referred the case to DAG in May 2021 for charges.

Williams is 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.

More on Michimich.com
Arraignment information for the remaining cases will be scheduled with the respective courts.

Thankfully, like in the other two charged cases announced above, the vigilance displayed by the nine clerks and BOE staff in their initial review led to criminal investigations and the ability for the Department of Attorney General to review and take appropriate action in filing criminal charges.

Update to other election fraud-related cases

Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins faces trial in connection to allegations she fraudulently altered or modified the Qualified Voter File after the 2018 general election to falsely reflect that previously logged absentee ballots were void due to arriving in envelopes that were not signed by the voter.

The case has been adjourned to Feb. 15, 2022 because of the backlog created by COVID-19. The trial was expected to begin at the end of October in Oakland County Circuit Court prior to being adjourned.

In January, Paul Parana pleaded guilty to a 90-day misdemeanor election law violation after filling out and submitting an absentee ballot for his daughter.

In July 2020, Karen Rotondo was charged with a five-year felony for signing her daughter's name to an application for absent voter ballot. The daughter was a registered voter in Maryland, and not entitled to vote in Michigan. Rotondo pleaded guilty to a two-year misdemeanor and was sentenced to three months probation, $1,000 fine, $1,300 court costs and 50 hours community service.

Following the 2020 Presidential Election, countless allegations of widespread fraud impacting results were made with no proof to support claims - including lawsuits that were dismissed by judges across the country. In August, Michigan was victorious in securing sanctions against attorneys who participated in the baseless "Kraken" lawsuit filed in the Unite States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

###

Please note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.

Filed Under: Government, State

Show All News | Report Violation

0 Comments

Latest on Michimich.com