Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, challenged the validity of election fraud claims, saying in a post on Twitter that making a false claim of a crime is itself a crime and suggesting that awareness of potential criminal liability is the reason some of those making fraud allegations have not filed complaints with law enforcement.
Nessel was commenting on a message posted on Twitter by Charles Gaba, a health care analyst at ACASignups.net, who in a series of tweets was providing running commentary on Monday’s meeting of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers, which ultimately voted to certify the election results.
During that meeting, former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a Republican, who also served as a poll challenger at Detroit’s TCF Center on Election Day, argued that the results of the election “are not certifiable” because the chain of custody had been broken.
“In order to ensure that a proper completion of election records has been accomplished, it is critical that there is a clear chain of custody maintained for the election,” Colbeck said. “If any single link in this chain has been broken, there is no proper completion of election records and the results of the election are not certifiable.”
Colbeck referred in some detail to two allegedly compromised chain of custody links, but added that he could provide evidence of “many others that were broken during this election cycle.” The first pertained to the qualified voter file, which he said showed an excess of votes over qualified voters, while the second related to Internet and ethernet connections between different parties taking part in vote tabulation and adjudication.
“I can personally attest to a break in the chain of custody for vote tallies due to visible ethernet connections between tabulators, adjudicators, and local data center workstations, including evidence of internet connectivity at the Detroit AV [absent voter] counting board, where 172,337 were reported as tabulated,” Colbeck said.
“If the chain of custody is broken, we cannot have faith in accurate election results, due to the significant breaches in the chain of custody,” he said.
Gaba, in one of his posts, commented on Colbeck’s remarks, writing, “One of the Democratic members finally chimes in: If you have evidence of fraud, have you submitted it to the Attorney General??” This prompted a reply from Nessel, who wrote: “I can confirm that Patrick Colbeck has never made a complaint of election fraud to the Michigan Dept. of Attorney General. If he had, we would have fully investigated said claim.”
In a follow-up tweet, Nessel added: “Colbeck’s assertions aside, intentionally making a false claim of criminal activity to law enforcement is itself a crime. It’s been my experience that is often the reason certain reports are not made.”
A sign with a message to Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers is seen in Lansing, Michigan, on Nov. 23, 2020. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Gaba’s commentary appeared to refer to a moment during the meeting when Colbeck was asked by one of the two Democrats who sits on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers about whether he had brought his allegations of voter fraud to the state attorney general.
“If you’re alleging fraud in this election, have you taken it to the attorney general, your evidence?” asked Julie Matuzak, one of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers’ two Democrats.
“I’ve submitted my affidavits to lawyers, and we’ve moved it up the chain that way,” Colbeck responded, adding, “I can submit it to anybody you’d like me to submit it to.”
“If there is an accusation of fraud, this board is not equipped nor authorized to investigate fraud,” Matuzak said. “It should appropriately be sent to the attorney general’s office. I encourage you to do that.”
Colbeck replied by saying that “your job is to ensure the proper certification of this election, the proper execution of processes related to election integrity and I can demonstrate that the chain of custody was breached on multiple occasions, in multiple links. That, from a Board of Canvasser perspective, is your raison d’etre.”
“You’re supposed to ensure the accuracy of the election. And the only way you can do that is by maintenance of a chain of custody and that has not happened in this election,” Colbeck said.
Later in the meeting, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers certified the election results showing Democrat Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump in the state, with a lead of more than 150,000 votes. Trump and his campaign have challenged the results with claims of fraud.
Following the certification, Nessel issued the following statement: “I commend the members of the Board of State Canvassers for today’s vote to certify our election results. A record number of citizens turned out to vote in an election that was fair, secure, and transparent.”