Dear Barack Obama, please don’t tell me voter fraud isn’t possible in a state where the Governor and Secretary of State are Republicans. I live in the very blue state of Michigan where both offices are held by Republicans and I beg to differ…
I was a poll challenger in the city of Pontiac, MI in 2012 and again, in 2014. The video below is an interview I did with Dennis Michael Lynch where I discuss the unbelievable corrupt behavior by the poll supervisor and voter fraud I witnessed. Dennis starts out the video by discussing Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Although I am no fan of the Governor’s I’m not sure he ever knew about the decision by the GOP to ignore the voter fraud we witnessed. But Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office was fully aware of the voter fraud we witnessed and chose to look away.
My best friend and business partner Leisa and I asked to go to Detroit in 2012 to work as poll challengers. We were given the assignment, left early in the morning and headed into what we were sure was going to be a contentious day. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The women who were supervising the polling places were serious and followed the rules to a tee. Besides the fact that every voter coming into the polling place had what is called a “Black Slate” (that’s essentially a mock up of the ballot with the spots marked where voters were expected to fill in) we couldn’t find a single irregularity or rule that wasn’t being followed. The “Black Slate” was a sort of cheat sheet for uniformed voters. There were no decisions that had to be made by the voter, just fill in the ovals exactly as they appeared on the “Black Slate” and voilà…you’ve voted! No need to pick candidates, judges or even to make decisions on ballot proposals, they’ve already been made for you by whomever decided how black Michigan residents should vote. We were pleased to see that there weren’t any issues at the Detroit polling place, so we decided to move to Pontiac where a friend had been messaging us about some “strange things” that were happening. She had never been a poll challenger before, but was wondering if people should have been putting their own ballots in the machine in the early morning hours just after the opening of the polls.
Upon entering the polling place, we were greeting by a supervisor. She was a black woman with a very stern look on her face. We smiled, handed her a box of donuts, introduced ourselves and said we were working for the Republican Party as poll challengers. Her response was, “I’ll be watching you watching me.” That was just the start of what turned out to be a very contentious day at the polls.
I spent the day with my good friend Dennis Michael Lynch driving around Detroit and talking to people about jobs and other issues. While we were driving, Dennis asked me to tell him my story. Although it’s not my most flattering angle…LOL…here is my story:
There were 3 precincts within one building where we landed in Pontiac. The black female supervisor at the precinct where I was working was getting very frustrated by presence at the polls. It was pretty clear they were not conditioned to having anyone watch the voting process, as the workers and supervisors all appeared to be on edge. As voters came through they were asked to show identification in order to get their registration form. After they received their white voter registration form, they moved down the line for the next person who had a voter roll book with the names and addresses of the voters. The person with the book was supposed to check the picture ID against the name on the form and the name in the book. The person with the book appeared to be intentionally blocking me out so I couldn’t see the book. I tried to lean around him and the supervisor yelled at me to “get back!” She kept saying, “You’re making him uncomfortable!” I continued to move around until I could find a spot within the boundaries I was allowed to stand in, so I could be sure the voters names were matching those in the voter roll book. Every time I would start to get a closer look, he would slam the book shut and either say, their names were in the book, or that they weren’t, in which case, he would pull out his flip phone and dial a number. He claimed he was calling the City Clerk and after giving the voters name, he would say the Clerk said “it was okay for them to vote”. I would challenge the vote, as I couldn’t see the book or the voters name on their ID, the supervisor would ignore me. Over and over again, I said I wanted to challenge the vote, and she ignored me. At one point things became so heated that she pressed her chest up against mine and was physically threatening me to back away from the process. I refused, and the voters in the line began to cheer for her, like we were in some sort of cage match.
After several SOS phone calls to the MI Republican Party hotline, they finally sent an attorney who witnessed the supervisor ignoring me when I asked for her to challenge the vote. Leisa, the attorney who was working for the GOP or Mitt Romney (we never got a straight answer about who he was working for from the GOP) and I took notes, we were all stunned at what we witnessed.
I waited a few days after Mitt Romney’s devastating defeat hoping I would hear from someone in the Republican Party. I never did. Several days later, I took it upon myself to call the MI GOP Party Chairman, who at the time was Bobby Schostak. I relayed part of my story to him, he didn’t seem to be very interested and told me to call our Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. I called her office and explained why I was calling. I never heard back. I called the person who scheduled us at the polling place and asked if the attorney was going to move forward with charges. He told us if the GOP was going to do anything, they would likely contact me. We never heard back from anyone.
Two years later we returned to the same polling place and again witnessed more shenanigans. This time they were ready for us. Large men appeared out of nowhere and lined up against the wall directly across from where I was standing. They were watching me. On several occasions, one of them would come up and ask me why I was there. I explained I was only protecting the sanctity of the vote and it wasn’t a Republican or Democrat thing. Protecting the sanctity of our vote was for the good of every American. He sneered and walked away. When things became heated between a poll worker and me because she kept insisting I was “making her uncomfortable,” I called and begged for the Republican Party to send a representative to help us out. When they finally sent someone, the City Clerk approached us and told me he had to leave. I explained that he could be there, so she called a Sheriff to come down and deal with me. Together, they threatened to have me arrested if I continued to break the rules. I explained I wasn’t breaking any rules and reminded the Sheriff that if he was going to threaten me, he should understand the law. Ten minutes later, the City Clerk approached me and told me she was “sorry” that it appeared I hadn’t broken any laws. As it turns out, she was only using the Sheriff as a prop. She wanted to create a news story. She wanted to say they had to call in a law enforcement officer to prevent me from intimidating the voters. When we left for lunch…she called the press. The story was printed with no opposition to their lies and we were never contacted to give our side. The GOP party told us to leave after lunch. They said the press was there and they didn’t want us to talk to them. We reluctantly left.
After our second time at the same polls and not seeing any real improvement, I decided I needed to demand someone from the Secretary of State’s office speak to me. I called Ruth Johnson’s office and I was directed to her assistant, Linda Lee-Tarver (who for the record is a lovely woman and I do believe she was genuinely concerned about our situation). I spent over an hour on the phone with Linda Lee -Tarver explaining in great detail all that took place on that day. She said she was stunned, and that I should tell everything to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s Chief of Staff Mike Seneyko. I then spoke with Mike on the phone for over an hour. He promised they would do something. I never heard back from him. To this day, I have yet to hear back from a single GOP official. Apparently, two mothers who risked their safety and possibly our lives to protect the sanctity of the vote was not important enough to them.
Will we be poll challenger again? You betcha. Just knowing that we possibly slowed the bleed a bit makes me feel like it was all worth it. Do I trust the GOP to take voter fraud by Democrats seriously? Hell no…