Dec 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Armed election protesters rally outside Michigan secretary of state's home

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks during a press conference at Callidac Place on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 in Detroit, MI.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson during a November press conferencein Detroit. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday night called for threats against elected officials to "stop" after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said armed protesters gathered outside her home and shouted "baseless conspiracy theories about the election."

Why it matters: Saturday's protest follows Trump's persistent unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Election officials in states including Georgia and Pennsylvania have reported receiving death threats over the election.

  • Trump supporters, some of whom were armed, rallied outside an Arizona election center last month while vote-counting was taking place.

Details: The Michigan Trump supporters' protest had the "primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office" and "spread false information about the security and accuracy of our elections," Benson said in a statement.

  • "They targeted me in my role as Michigan’s chief election officer. But the threats of those gathered weren’t actually aimed at me — or any other elected officials in this state. They were aimed at the voters," said Benson, whose 4-year-old son was at home with her when the protest occurred.
"Through threats of violence, intimidation and bullying, the armed people outside my home and their political allies seek to undermine and silence the will and voices of every voter in this state, no matter who they voted for."

For the record: Republican leaders in Michigan have said they "have not yet been aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election" in the state.

Worth noting: The FBI charged several suspects in October over two alleged plots by armed groups to kidnap Whitmer and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over their responses to the pandemic.

  • Whitmer said in a tweet Sunday night, "Threats against our elected officials, no matter their party, are dangerous and unacceptable. This must stop. Now is the time to come together against our common enemy: COVID-19."
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