Protesters Gather Outside Home of Michigan Elections Chief, Chanting ‘Stop the Steal’

Protesters Gather Outside Home of Michigan Elections Chief, Chanting ‘Stop the Steal’
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit on Aug. 18, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
Tom Ozimek

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Dec. 5, demonstrating against the state’s certification of the presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden, chanting, “Stop the steal.”

Part of the protest was livestreamed on Facebook, with people seen marching toward Benson’s Detroit home, holding signs and decrying what they said was a fraudulent election, with some shouting, “We want an audit.”

President Donald Trump and members of his legal team have claimed widespread election fraud and other malfeasance.

Echoing the president’s position, Genevieve Peters, who posted the video, could be heard saying, “We do not accept this fraudulent election; we do not accept a complete corruption.”

Elections officials in states facing allegations of voter fraud and other election-related legal challenges brought by the Trump legal team and others have insisted there is no widespread voter fraud. In a statement following Michigan’s certification of votes, Benson said, “The election was fair and secure, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters.”
At one point, police arrived on the scene of the demonstration. Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw told Detroit Free Press that the situation remained peaceful, saying, “There wasn’t much to it.”

“I wouldn’t even call it a demonstration, it was just a small event and nothing came of it,” Shaw said.

Benson said in a statement that “dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns in the dark of night.”

Benson said in her statement that she has “always been an energetic advocate for the right and importance of peaceful protest as enshrined in the United States Constitution,” but said the Dec. 5 protest crossed a line, claiming it was “done with the primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office they solemnly took as elected officials.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, in a joint statement on Dec. 6, called the demonstration “disturbing behavior masquerading as protest.”

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani took part in a hearing before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Dec. 2, during which he asked questions of witnesses who gave accounts of various forms of election-related irregularities.

“This is a swindle, it’s a con job, it’s the theft of an election,” Giuliani said. “They stole the election.”

Benson, in her statement, denied claims of fraud and challenged the validity of the evidence.

“Through blatantly false press releases, purely political legislative hearings, bogus legal claims and so called ‘affidavits’ that fail to allege any clear or cogent evidence of wrongdoing, those unhappy with the results of this election have perpetuated an unprecedented, dangerous, egregious campaign to erode the public’s confidence in the results of one of the most secure, accessible and transparent elections in our state’s history,” she wrote.

Peters, in the video of the protest, could be heard saying, “We never, ever allow election fraud.”

“We will not stand down. We will not stop. We will continue to rise up. We will continue to take this election back for the president that actually won it by a landslide. This is not over,” she said.