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AG's office issues charges in 3 cases of voter fraud

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Posted at 12:30 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 12:32:45-04

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Attorney General and Michigan Secretary of State provided updates on three investigations related to attempted voter fraud, which led to charges against three people.

The three cases stem out of metro Detroit – with one in Macomb County, another in Oakland County and two in Wayne County.

In Macomb County, a woman wass charged with three counts of election law forgery and three counts of forging signatures on absentee ballot applications.

In October, the Centerline clerk contacted the elections department after about two dozen absentee voter applications were dropped off. While crosschecking signatures, the clerk noticed signatures did not match.

The applications came from an assisted living facility, and it was found the applications were from residents who had not yet told staff they wanted to vote.

An employee, 28-year-old Trenae Rainey, reportedly filled out the applications herself and forged the resident's signature to each application, and then turned them over to be delivered.

"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," a release said.

In Wayne county, Carless Clark is charged with impersonating someone to vote and election law forgery, both of which are felonies.

According to the AG's office, the department of state reviewed a signature from a returned absentee ballot and found it didn't match the registered voter's signature on the qualified voter file. The voter also voted as his polling location.

The investigation found that the grandmother of Clark returned his absentee ballot by mail despite him deciding to vote in person.

Clark admitted to signing her grandson's absentee ballot because she was concerned he wouldn't have time to vote on Election Day.

Finally, Nancy Juanita Williams is charged in Wayne and Oakland counties in five courts.

Investigators say Williams is a guardian and planned to obtain and control absentee ballots for those legally incapacitated under her care.

In all, the AG's office alleges she submitted 26 absentee ballot applications to nine different clerks to have them mailed directly to her. She also submitted voter registration applications for each person, according to the AG's office.

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

“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 added. “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.”