Dozens of people gathered outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) on Saturday night, protesting Michigan’s certification of the election that gave the state’s electoral votes to Democratic President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Biden picks infectious diseases specialist to lead CDC: report Trump election claims dominate Georgia Senate debate MORE.
Some of the protest was livestreamed on Facebook, the Detroit Free Press reports, with protesters seen marching toward Benson’s Detroit home. In the video, some protesters can be seen wearing Trump paraphernalia and heard demanding a “forensic audit.”
In the video, a man referred to as security by some of the protesters can be seen standing in front of Benson’s home and shining a light on the gathered crowd.
“We are letting her know that we’re not taking this bullshit election, we are not standing down, we are not giving up,” said Genevieve Peters, who posted the video. “You are not going to take this election from a man that has earned it completely 100 percent by a freaking landslide. Let me tell you: This ain’t over.”
The protesters echoed President TrumpDonald John TrumpDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Arizona legislature shuts down after Giuliani tests positive for coronavirus Trump election claims dominate Georgia Senate debate MORE’s baseless claims that widespread electoral fraud had occurred in the 2020 presidential election. Election officials have referred to this year’s election as the “most secure in American history” and last week Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief Barr considering stepping down before Trump’s term ends: NYT Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus, Trump says MORE said the Department of Justice had not discovered any evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud.
“I have always been an energetic advocate for the right and importance of peaceful protest as enshrined in the United States Constitution,” said Benson in a statement released on Sunday. “However there is a line crossed when gatherings are done with the primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office they solemnly took as elected officials.”
The individuals gathered outside my home targeted me as Michigan’s Chief Election officer. But their threats were actually aimed at the 5.5million Michigan citizens who voted in this fall’s election, seeking to overturn their will. They will not succeed in doing so. My statement: pic.twitter.com/RSUnPSN4Aa
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) December 6, 2020
Toward the middle of the video, multiple police officers arrive on the scene, at which point the protesters begin singing the national anthem.
At the end of the stream, the protesters begin to move away from Benson’s house as more police officers arrive. In the video, Peters promises that the group will return.
“I wouldn’t even call it a demonstration, it was just a small event and nothing came of it,” said Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw.
However, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel condemned the protesters’ actions on Sunday, calling their demonstration “disturbing behavior masquerading as protest.”
“This mob-like behavior is an affront to basic morality and decency,” said Nessel in a joint statement with Wayne County prosecutor Kym L. Worthy. “Anyone can air legitimate grievances to Secretary Benson’s office through civil and democratic means, but terrorizing children and families at their homes is not activism.”
[email protected] @dananessel and Wayne County Prosecutor @KymLWorthy issued the following joint statement regarding the protest in front of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s home Saturday night: pic.twitter.com/RTTO5F2JEu
— Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (@MIAttyGen) December 6, 2020
Elections officials across the country have sounded the alarm on threats to those involved in the election, from secretaries of state to individual poll workers.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has said both he and his wife have received death threats from individuals upset with the results of the election. Raffensperger has been repeatedly attacked by Trump on social media and said Trump supporters are being exploited by the misinformation spread by Trump and his allies regarding the election.
Fellow Georgia Republican and voting systems manager Gabriel Sterling last week accused Trump of provoking violence against officials and election workers.
“Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. It’s not right,” he said.
Sterling on Sunday said combating Trump’s false claims was like playing “a game of whack-a-mole.”
“This is going both ways and it’s undermined democracy, and we have got to get to a point where responsible people act responsibly,” he said.
In Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) said in a statement last month that she, her family and her office had received “utterly abhorrent” threats but pledged that the “continued intimidation tactics will not prevent me from performing the duties I swore an oath to do.”
Arizona Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyDozens of protesters gathered outside home of Michigan elections chief The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Congress inches closer to virus relief deal The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates MORE (R) also seemingly broke with Trump last week, certifying the election results in Arizona and confirming Biden as the winner in the state.
This apparently drew the president’s ire as he retweeted a tweet saying Ducey had “betrayed the people of Arizona.” A video of Ducey certifying the election appeared to show him ignoring a call from Trump as he worked through the election paperwork.