Michigan secretary of state’s home surrounded by armed ‘mob’ shouting ‘stop the steal’

Jocelyn Benson accused ‘the armed people outside my home’ of wanting ‘to undermine and silence the will and voices of every voter in this state’

Harriet Alexander
Monday 07 December 2020 15:33
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'No legal or factual basis' to question election, says Michigan Secretary of State
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Armed protesters chanting "stop the steal" marched on the home of Michigan's top election official on Saturday night to protest what they claim is an election rigged in favour of Joe Biden.

Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, had just finished stringing up her Christmas lights and was about to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas with her four-year-old son when the crowd of about two dozen turned up with guns, flags, loud hailers and speakers at around 9:30pm.

Michigan state officials accused the group of "terrorizing" Ms Benson and her family, in retaliation for her overseeing the election.  

“She’s decided to completely ignore all of the credible, credible, fraudulent evidence that has been continually pointed out,” said one demonstrator, Genevieve Peters, as she live-streamed the protest in Detroit on Facebook.  

“We’re out here in front of the secretary of state’s house and we want her to know we will continue to be here.”

Police were called shortly before 10pm, and the group departed without any arrests being made.

Michigan's attorney general, Dana Nessel, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy - both Democrats - said that the "mob-like behaviour" was "an affront to basic morality and decency".

"They shouted baseless conspiracy theories about the election, and in videos uploaded to social media, at least one individual could be heard shouting ‘you’re murderers’ within earshot of her child’s bedroom," they said.

"This mob-like behavior is an affront to basic morality and decency.

"Terrorizing children and families at their own homes is not activism."

Michigan, which Mr Biden won by 154,000 votes, has become a focus for Donald Trump and his supporters as they seek to overturn the election result, alleging massive voter fraud.

On Monday a federal judge rejected a last-minute push by Michigan Republicans who sought an emergency order to overturn Mr Biden's victory in the state, saying the effort aimed to "ignore the will of millions of voters."

District Court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan's Eastern District, wrote on Monday that the suit seemed "less about achieving the relief" the plaintiffs sought and "more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government."  

She added: "The People have spoken."

It is also the state where, in October, 14 men were arrested and accused of a plot to kidnap the governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and overthrow the government. They are awaiting trial in jail.

Michigan is not the only state where election officials have been harassed.

In Georgia and Arizona the secretaries of state have received death threats and needed protection details.

In Colorado, Vermont, Kentucky and Minnesota officials have been harassed.

“A line is 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,” said Ms Benson.

She said Saturday’s protest would not lead her to abandon her responsibility to defend the election results.

“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,” she said.  

“But their efforts won’t carry the day. The will of the people is clear.

“And I will stand up every day in my job for all voters, even the votes of the protesters who banded together outside my home.”

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