One of Michigan’s top elected Republicans is conceding that President Joe Biden won the state in 2020, but only with the help of dead voters.
State Sen. Mike Shirkey, Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader and one of the state’s top elected Republicans, made that ridiculous claim, supported by no evidence, in a radio interview Tuesday. He called Michigan’s election, which Biden won by more than 150,000 votes, a “little too loose.”
“Too many dead people voted and there was too much confusion at absentee counting boards, which is going to be the new reality,” Shirkey said. “So we need higher levels of training for those who are poll workers, poll watchers, poll challengers to keep the tension down in those locations.”
Shirkey is repeating this falsehood in a state where six people were arrested and charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. Michigan was also the site of armed anti-government protests last year, including an incident in April where hundreds of protesters (many of them armed and maskless) forcibly entered the State Capitol in Lansing to protest coronavirus restrictions.
During the lead-up to Biden’s inauguration in January, Whitmer activated the Michigan National Guard to protect the Capitol.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office said after the election that claims that dead people voted were not true.
“[Michigan’s Department of State] and news organizations have drawn samples and reviewed samples of lists claiming to show votes cast by deceased individuals in Michigan,” Benson’s office said. “We are not aware of a single confirmed case showing that a ballot was actually cast on behalf of a deceased individual.”
Shirkey’s claim is based on misinformation that goes back months, to the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election. Following the 2020 election, various posts online spread false claims about both illegal voting and election fraud.
One tweet which has since been removed, for example, purported to show a list of more than 14,000 dead voters in Wayne County, home to Detroit and the state’s most populous county. The Detroit Free Press found that some of the voters didn’t even live in Wayne County, and others hadn’t even received a ballot.
And while Shirkey claimed there was confusion at absentee counting boards, the legislature brought that on itself, when Shirkey and other Michigan Republicans opposed changes to election law that would allow county election officials to count absentee ballots prior to Election Day. Instead, those votes were counted only after the ballots cast on election day had been tallied.
“[Shirkey’s] admitted he should have done what we asked more than a year ago when we proposed legislation to allow sufficient time before Election Day to process absentee ballots, and he’s well aware there is no widespread evidence of wrongdoing, including ‘dead people voting,’” Benson spokesperson Jake Rollow told Michigan Live in response to Shirkey’s comments.
Former President Donald Trump’s early lead on election night in Michigan and Pennsylvania, due to the majority of his voters casting ballots on Election Day, only helped fuel the perception that Democrats had stolen the election in the state where many Biden voters voted by mail-in ballot.
As for Shirkey, he can’t seem to stop putting his foot in his mouth. Shirkey told conservative activists during a meeting earlier this month that he had considered challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to a fight, that Michigan Republicans had “spanked” the Democrat on a number of issues, and that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a “hoax” and “wasn’t Trump people” in comments which were recorded and posted online.
Shirkey later apologized for the comments saying they “are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve,” but he was caught last week on a hot mic taking it all back during a conversation with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Whitmer’s No. 2.
“I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make,” Shirkey said during the conversation, according to the Detroit Free Press.