Laura Cox, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, told reporters Friday that the state party referred the allegations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The whistleblower, an election worker in the city of Detroit, was assigned to work on problematic ballots in the TCF Center, according to Cox.
“A bundle of ballots with no receive date were brought to the whistleblower. The ballots should not have been immediately counted because there was no evidence the ballots were received by the state mandated deadline of November 3. On the morning of November 4, whistleblower was instructed by their supervisor to take the ballots with no dates, enter them into the electronic record, and place either November 2 or November 3 as the date received,” she said.
“This is illegal. This whistleblower was uncomfortable entering the dates on the ballots with no evidence. … Election workers became angry at the whistleblower and blocked this individual from the process. According to the whistleblower, all election workers were given this same guidance.”
The FBI declined to comment.
The U.S. attorney’s office didn’t pick up the phone on Saturday.
One of the individuals involved was reportedly Chris Thomas, former Michigan director of elections who as a contractor is advising Detroit on executing the election.
The office of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement later Friday that, “as was stated” by Thomas, “no ballots were backdated.”
“Rather, a clerical error was made when some ballot envelopes were received in Detroit satellite offices. Although employees stamped a date of receipt on the envelopes, an employee failed to complete the transaction for receiving the ballot by saving that date in the Qualified Voter File,” the office said.
“Therefore, at the absent voter counting board, after discussion with Republican challengers who chose not to challenge the process, staff was instructed to enter that date stamped on the envelope ensuring that no voters were disenfranchised by the clerical error,” it added.
Republicans also accused the Detroit election officials of keeping GOP poll watchers from observing ballot counting inside the TCF Center.
“The city of Detroit intentionally deceived the media about the presence of Republican poll challengers by continuing to count Republican challengers who had left the building in their official total and not allowing replacements to come to fill those vacancies,” Cox said.
“They had no signup process, and knowingly created a system that were [sic] not permitted to have the number of challengers that were legally obligated to have. To hide their blatant partisanship, city employees then covered the windows of the TCF Center to conceal the truth.”
A number of poll watchers were removed this week for various reasons, including the room allegedly being above capacity.
Benson’s office said that hundreds of challengers from both parties were inside the absentee voter counting room all day on Election Day.
“And even after some left, there were always challengers from both parties in the room. Dozens of reporters were in the room as well. Further, some windows were covered to stop those outside from filming the people and private information in the counting board, while other windows were left uncovered to ensure additional transparency,” it stated.
Michigan lawmakers are meeting Saturday to probe possible improprieties.
Michigan has been called for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. According to current results, he won the state by about 146,000 votes.
President Donald Trump and his allies argue that he may have won the state, pointing to irregularities such as one county initially reporting Biden had more votes, before switching thousands to Trump.