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Michigan AG Charges Three Metro Detroit Women With Voter Fraud Related To 2020 Election

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged three Metro Detroit women with election fraud in connection to absentee ballot applications and ballots submitted during the 2020 general election.

“These cases highlight the scrutiny applications and ballots undergo throughout the election process, as well as the thorough investigative process that ensues when instances of attempted fraud are suspected,” AG Dana Nessel said in a release. “I appreciate our partners at the Department of State and Michigan State Police who brought these cases to us. These collaborative investigations assist in maintaining the integrity of our elections. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who attempts to undermine our elections.”

“Our election system is secure, and today’s charges demonstrate that in the rare circumstances when fraud occurs we catch it and hold the perpetrators accountable,” SOS Jocelyn Benson said. “These charges also send a clear message to those who promote deceitful claims about widespread fraud: the current protocols we have in place work to protect and ensure the integrity of our elections. It’s time to share that truth and stop spreading lies to the contrary.”

According to The Detroit News, “The charges announced Monday involved three individuals alleged to have been involved in election fraud in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. Only one case — one resulting in a double vote — was caught after the election, said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for Nessel’s office. “The other two were caught during the absentee ballot application processing and never issued actual ballots,” Mukomel said.

Nessel issued a press release detailing the charges:

Charges against Trenae Myesha Rainey – Macomb County 

In October 2020, the Centerline Clerk contacted the BOE after a stack of roughly two dozen absentee voter applications were dropped off for processing. While crosschecking the signatures on the applications with voter signatures in the Qualified Voter File (QVF), the clerk noticed the signatures did not match.  

A team of DAG investigators was assigned to look into the matter in November 2020.  

The applications came from an assisted-living facility in the area – Father Murray Nursing Home. It was further determined the applications were for residents who had not yet told staff if they wished to vote in the 2020 General Election.  

Instead, investigators determined Trenae Myesha Rainey, 28, a facility employee, did not contact the residents as set by procedure and instead filled out the applications and forged the resident’s signature to each application. She then turned the applications over to another employee who was instructed to deliver the applications to the Centerline Clerk. 

Investigators determined Rainey decided where the residents should be registered and whether the resident should be provided with an absent voter ballot, primarily without first consulting the resident. 

Rainey is charged with the following in Macomb County’s 37th District Court: 

three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies; and 

three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot applications, a five-year felonies. 

Arraignment is not yet scheduled. Additional information will be available through the court. 

Charges against Carless Clark – Wayne County 

In April 2021, BOE contacted the Enforcement Division of DOS to investigate a case of double voting during the 2020 General Election. A signature review of a returned absentee ballot to the Detroit City Clerk determined the signature did not match the registered voter’s signature in the QVF. That registered voter also voted at his polling location on Election day. 

Investigation by the Enforcement Division determined the grandmother of the registered voter, Carless Clark, 59, returned his absentee ballot by mail despite her grandson deciding to vote in person.  

The matter was referred to DAG investigators in August. 

Clark admitted to signing her grandson’s absentee ballot because she was concerned he would not have time to vote on Election Day. 

Clark is charged with the following in Wayne County’s 36th District Court: 

one count of election law – impersonating another to vote at an election, a four-year felony; and 

one county of election law forgery, a five-year felony. 

Arraignment is not yet scheduled. Additional information will be available through the court. 

Charges against Nancy Juanita Williams – Wayne & Oakland counties 

In October 2020, BOE became concerned about possible election fraud after receiving similar inquiries from local election administrators through the QVF Help Desk. The inquiries centered on applications for absentee ballots signed with an “X” and requesting that the ballot be mailed to the business address of Guardian and Associates in Oak Park. 

After discussing the matter with State elections officials, BOE referred the review to MSP for a criminal investigation. 

Investigators determined the guardian, Nancy Juanita Williams, 55, developed and implemented a plan to obtain and control absentee ballots for legally incapacitated persons under her care by fraudulently submitting 26 absentee ballot applications to nine identified city and township clerks, seeking to have absentee ballots for those individuals mailed directly to her. She also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person – all without knowledge, consent or understanding of the person under her care. 

MSP ultimately referred the case to DAG in May 2021 for charges. 

Williams is charged with the following in five courts: 

28th District Court (City of Southgate) – Wayne County

one count of false statement in absentee ballot application, a 90-day misdemeanor;

one count of forging signature on absentee ballot application, a five-year felony; and

one count of election law forgery, a five-year felony.

17th District Court (Redford Township) – Wayne County

two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors;

two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and

two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

18th District Court (City of Westland) – Wayne County

three counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors;

three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and

three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

29th District Court (City of Wayne) – Wayne County

two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors;

two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and

two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

46th District Court (City of Southfield) – Oakland County

six counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors;

six counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and

six counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

The only case in which an arraignment has been scheduled for Williams is in Redford’s 17th District Court on Nov. 2 at 8:45 a.m. 

Arraignment information for the remaining cases will be scheduled with the respective courts. 

Thankfully, like in the other two charged cases announced above, the vigilance displayed by the nine clerks and BOE staff in their initial review led to criminal investigations and the ability for the Department of Attorney General to review and take appropriate action in filing criminal charges,” the statement said.

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