Nov 2, 2022 - Politics

SOS candidate embraces election conspiracies ahead of midterm

Republican SOS candidate Kristina Karamo hugs a supporter with gubernatorial and lt. gov. candidates Tudor Dixon and Shane Hernandez standing in the background.

Republican secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo hugs a supporter, with gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates Tudor Dixon and Shane Hernandez standing behind. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

The election denier running to become Michigan's election chief is spreading conspiracy theories about absentee voting in Detroit, days before the midterm.

Driving the news: Republican Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo is claiming that "illegal votes" are already plaguing the state's largest city.

  • Karamo made a number of unsubstantiated claims during a Monday news conference after a court hearing for her lawsuit that would invalidate mail-in voting in Detroit, including one that she could "reroute" absentee ballots to her house.

Why it matters: As of Oct. 31, nearly 50,000 Detroiters had already voted by absentee ballot, state data shows.

  • The city's legal counsel says the suit, which would invalidate those votes, contains "frivolous, unproven claims" and amounts to racist voter disenfranchisement.

What happened: Karamo's attorneys at the hearing withdrew their initial request to disqualify all Wayne County judges from handling the lawsuit over the "appearance of impropriety."

  • When asked what their message is to Detroit residents who have already cast absentee ballots, an attorney told reporters they are asking the courts for guidance.

Details: Karamo's lawsuit asks the court to "require all Detroit voters to vote in person or obtain their ballots in person at the clerk's office."

  • The lawsuit also asks to stop counting ballots cast through ballot boxes that "are not effectively monitored."
  • Karamo's attorney, Daniel Harman, is also representing the Macomb County Republican Party in another suit seeking to decertify the 2020 election, MLive reports.

What they're saying: "They seek to disenfranchise every voter who voted by mail but only in the city of Detroit — the largest African-American city in Michigan. It's no accident," attorney David Fink, who is representing the city in Karamo's suit, said in the Zoom hearing Monday. "This case was intended to do one thing and only one thing, which is to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in Detroit who mailed in their vote."

Separately, former President Barack Obama brought up Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon's conspiratorial rhetoric related to the Civil War that surfaced in a CNN story while he was speaking in Detroit over the weekend.

  • Dixon has backed off making claims that the 2020 election was compromised by widespread voter fraud, but did spread misinformation about voter fraud following the 2020 election by questioning how President Biden received more votes than any presidential candidate in history in a now-deleted tweet.

The bottom line: Dixon hasn't given a clear answer as to whether she will accept election results on Nov. 8. She told Axios after the last debate that "We have to make sure that the election is running fairly."

  • Dixon's campaign is leaving the door open for the lack of a concession, telling Axios yesterday that she will accept the results as long as the election is run in "a manner that follows the law."
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