A Democratic leader in Michigan was charged last month with six felony counts for falsifying voting records in the Nov. 2018 election, authorities have said.
Sherikia L. Hawkins, an elected official in suburban Detroit, has been charged with “unauthorized and inaccurate” changes to 193 absentee ballots during the 2018 election.
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State police say Hawkins falsified and forged records after Oakland County officials raised questions about how the city accounted for absentee ballots.
Hawkins is accused of switching her original reports with altered reports. Originals were reportedly found in a trash can.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, also a Democrat, claimed no elections were won or lost based on Hawkins’ alleged election fraud.
Benson barred Hawkins from managing any local election activities while the case is pending.
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“Voting is fundamental to the very essence of our democracy,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said when he announced the charges. “It is incumbent upon state governments to safeguard the electoral process and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected.”
The alleged discovery that Hawkins altered the records for 193 absentee voters was announced in late September. It was reportedly discovered during a two-week canvass following the election.
“All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted and the final official vote total was accurate,” Benson said.
Hawkins is an award-winning Democratic insider in the state. According to The Detroit News, she was honored this summer with the Democrats’ Dingell/Levin Award at the party’s Legacy Dinner in Detroit. She is paid over $101,000 annually as the city’s clerk.
“Every citizen must know that when they enter the ballot box, the vote that they cast will be counted and that the collective will of the voters will be carried out,” Nessel said.
Hawkins was arraigned on charges that include: election law-falsifying returns or records, forgery of a public record, misconduct in office and multiple counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
She faces over 14-years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this article