Trump’s ‘fake voter’ claims mayoral seat of major West Michigan city
UPDATE: History has been edited to reflect that Kent Vanderwood will not face a run-off challenge for mayor in November, as he won more than 50% of the vote in the Aug. 2 primary.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Wyoming’s new mayor is one of 16 people who signed a fake Electoral College certificate declaring former President Donald Trump the winner of Michigan in the 2020 election.
Wyoming councilman and mayor-elect Kent Vanderwood was among a group of Republicans who, in late 2020, signed documents that falsely identified themselves as the state’s voters in what some claim was a coordinated effort to overturn election results in Trump’s favor across a handful of swing states.
Vanderwood, who has served on the Wyoming City Council for the past 16 years, won the August 2 three-way primary to replace longtime Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll. Because Vanderwood got over 50% of the vote, he won’t go to a runoff in November.
Kent County election officials expect primary results to be certified later on Friday, August 12.
Vanderwood will be sworn in in December and will rule Kent County’s second-largest town with a population of around 76,500. Wyoming is located in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.
Vanderwood declined to talk about his signing of the forged Electoral College certificate, saying his attorney’s advice was not to answer questions. He said, however, that he answered questions about it while campaigning and going door-to-door, but it “rarely came back”.
President Joe Biden won Michigan by a tally of 2,804,040 votes to Trump’s 2,649,852, or 50.62% to 47.84%, according to the state election tally.
At least two of those who signed the certificate have been subpoenaed by federal investigators after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, gave federal prosecutors details of an investigation earlier this year. one year out of the state’s 16 false voters.
Nessel, whose office declined to comment for this story, raised earlier this year the possibility of state charges against voters, if there was no “federal accountability.” She said charges related to falsifying a public document and tampering with election law could be brought against GOP voters.
Related: Michigan Attorney General Says Republicans Who Falsified Election Certificates ‘Absolutely’ Committed Crimes
The US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not respond to requests for comment from MLive/The Grand Rapids Press.
In Wyoming’s three-way mayoral primary on August 2, Vanderwood received the most votes with 5,635 of 9,812 votes cast, or 57.4% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the county clerk’s office. Kent. Because he got over 50% of the vote, he won the seat.
His colleague, longtime council member and Pro Tem Mayor Sam Bolt got the second most votes at 3,033, or 30.9% of the total, in the primary. Wyoming resident Cliff Tompkins won 1,144 votes, or about 11.6 percent.
Bolt could not be reached for comment.
Many details of the larger plan to install fake voters in seven swing states who would vote for Trump, not Biden, came from the US House Select Committee during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The committee argued that Trump tried to pressure lawmakers in those states to overturn the 2020 election by placing voters who would vote for him instead of Biden in the Electoral College tally, which decides who wins the presidency, not the popular vote.
In Michigan, the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote receives all 16 electoral votes, which under state law must be cast by every voter at the state Capitol after the election.
Michigan’s fake voters allegedly tried to “hide overnight” in the state Capitol so they could vote there, according to House committee testimony from former state GOP chairwoman Laura Cox, who said a Trump campaign lawyer told him this.
But the fake voters didn’t hide in the state Capitol overnight, and they were barred from entering the building on Dec. 14 when state voters officially voted for Biden. These votes were then submitted to Congress to certify on January 6, 2021.
Although the fake state voters were prevented from officially voting at the state Capitol, the Trump campaign had the fake Electoral College certificate and other documents transported to the US Capitol for delivery to the National Archives and the Vice Chairman Mike Pence, according to the House committee.
The intent was allegedly for Pence, who led the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify every electoral vote, to introduce the fake electoral votes. He did not comply.
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