A guest post by author Patrice Johnson.
Our little town’s annual Day in the Village presented a perfect opportunity for Pure Integrity Michigan Elections to host a table. I sat with fellow PIMErs Rick and Gary, enjoying the warm, sunny day and chatting with people who stopped by. Many eagerly signed up to become supporters. But Stockbridge is a small town. I’ve lived here most of my life, and people I knew were walking past without returning so much as a nod of hello.
I must be unrecognizable behind my sunglasses, I decided.
To my right, I noticed Belle looking at me. I smiled and waved a greeting to the fellow garden club member of many years.
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No wave back.
She was probably daydreaming or focusing somewhere else. Stupid sunglasses, I thought. Curious, I watched her, and as we contemplated each other’s direction, I realized Belle was, in fact, staring directly at me. I sensed a chill. Then the question dawned on me: Could she find my affiliation with PIME so disturbing that she couldn’t bring herself to acknowledge my presence?
For months leading up to the Nov. 3, 2020, election, President Trump had warned against the massive push for mail-in ballots. The COVID-19 pandemic was providing cover for the left to “rig” the election, he said. Every Michigander knew a household or two that had received a ballot application in the mail for a long-dead grandmother or a relative who had moved out of state decades ago. Social media was rife with citizens reporting the receipt of ballot applications for strangers supposedly dwelling in their homes.
On Sept. 25, 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, saying, “Now, we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise.”
Despite Wray’s explicit use of historically in reference to past elections, the mainstream media jumped on the opportunity to twist his words. CNN reported, “In the space of a single sentence uttered Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray unwound months of wild conspiracy theories pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies about mail-in ballots in the 2020 election.”
In the name of the pandemic, unattended ballot drop boxes began to spring up like mushrooms after a spring rain. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson ordered poll challengers to stand six feet away from election inspectors, rendering them unable to read computer screens and do their jobs.
Signature matching? Assume all signatures are valid, Benson proclaimed in wild abandonment of Michigan law. If a returned ballot failed to match the one issued to the voter, the secretary’s elections manual trained clerks to count it anyway—in direct conflict with state law requiring the rejection of mismatched in-person ballots.
We watched in consternation on Nov. 3, 2020, as election administrators plastered cardboard over windows to block onlookers from viewing the ballot-counting process. Social media reported absentee ballot curing without checks and balances.
The next morning, we woke to counts that had toggled like light switches from red to blue in key swing states. An image went viral of a van loaded with ballots arriving at Detroit’s TCF Center at 3 AM. Wayne County reported more out-of-balance precincts than Michigan’s other 82 counties combined, and Detroit topped the list with 70% of its precincts out of balance.
Out of balance, we learned, meant the number of voters did not match the number of counted ballots. In other words, the number of voters was not jiving with the number of votes cast in nearly three-quarters of Detroit’s precincts. Worse, votes from out-of-balance precincts were counted yet not subject to a recount.
In an apparent move to depressurize the pulsating volcano of public outrage, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) repeated what had become the media mantra. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.” No matter that CISA provided no evidence to support its kneejerk claim issued 11 short days after the election.
No worries, my friends and I decided. The Board of State Canvassers was sure to make those miscounted precincts reconcile before the board would certify the election results.
Instead, Democrat canvassers clamored and cajoled and whispered false promises of an audit into the ears of the two Republican holdouts. Meanwhile, death threats were leveled at one of the recalcitrant canvasser’s children. Paintballs from ever-present and increasingly belligerent picketers peppered both the GOP canvassers’ homes.
Nov. 23, 2020, the canvassers certified the election.
Reading the room
The twisting of words. The parroting of identical phrases. The unauthorized trampling on election laws. The wildly unsubstantiated proclamations without any pretense of authentic investigations. The obvious orchestration of Antifa-like attacks on the canvassers—All these factors combined to create a spooky, other-world mosaic, as if Michigan had teleported into a time-space continuum within the post-election borders of Venezuela, Iran, or Russia. (China was off the table because the CCP does not bother with having elections.)
Concerned citizens gathered and asked probing questions. Curious minds began to study the laws and send Freedom Of Information Act requests for public records. Day by day, new puzzle pieces fitted into place, and a nagging question took shape:
Had the government that We the People trusted to represent us and to oversee fair and impartial elections let us down?
The January reset
Regardless of whether provocateurs triggered the Jan. 6, 2021, riot or the situation devolved of its own accord, the events at the Capitol put an end to discussions regarding election irregularities during the joint session of Congress. U.S. Representatives and Senators voted to certify Joe Biden as President.
As early as Jan. 7, the New York Times and other publications started calling the riot an “insurrection” and an attempted “coup.” The media raged about four or five “deaths.” In truth, only one death occurred of unnatural causes. Protester Ashli Babbit, an unarmed military veteran, was shot while entering the Capitol through a broken window. Shooter Lt. Michael Byrd, whose name was withheld for months, was never charged. To date, charges for Jan. 6 rioters have ranged from trespassing to assault. No one has been charged with insurrection.
Later, the Wall Street Journal concluded, “The idea that Donald Trump and his followers had any chance of overthrowing the U.S. government, or even that they aimed at that outcome, is a delusion.”
On Jan. 11, in response to citizens exercising their constitutional right to demand an audit, Secretary Benson ordered a Risk Limiting Audit. RLAs sample a small number of ballots in a select number of precincts. Plus, they allow multiple attempts to reach the desired outcomes. A judge, who chose not to recognize RLAs as more shell game than an audit, ruled the SOS had fulfilled her obligation.
Bullies gotta gloat
In a surprisingly brazen move, a self-described “cabal” took a chest-thumping victory lap in a Time magazine tell-all interview. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election, published Feb. 4, 2021, revealed, in jaw-dropping self-confessions, the existence of “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”
The article described the disparate grouping of players as a “conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs,” resulting in an “informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans.”
In other words, the leftist interviewees were bursting with pride at having pulled off the greatest political heist in history, the actual coup.
As if to dispel any lingering doubts as to the ruthless attack on our constitutional republic, the Epoch Times exposed the ringleaders’ inherent admissions to subverting the rule of law: “Time Magazine Details the ‘Shadow Campaign’ Against Trump. ‘They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it,’ Time magazine says.”
A populist movement is born.
The initial daze of the election settled into lock-jawed determination. Citizens tuned out the bureaucrat’s incessant harping about contracting COVID-19 and, instead, began to exercise their unalienable right to assemble. From accountants to zoning inspectors, people from all walks of life shared their unique perspectives and skills. They put their differences aside and united around one cause: Now was the time for every good person to come to the aid of their country.
Patriots slipped through backdoors into cafés and classrooms. Pure Integrity Michigan Elections (PIME) started with a group of eight friends seated around a kitchen table. MC4EI, Faithful Patriots, EIF…the list of allies grew to more than 150.
Citizens, previously unengaged in politics, educated themselves on the political system. PIME supporters studied election bills and testified at more than 30 legislative hearings over the course of 12 months. Residents flocked to the school board and county commissioner meetings. They went to battle against the National Popular Vote and kept it out of the state.
In March 2022, PIME published Anne Hill’s Lights Out report, documenting 36% anomalies in East Lansing’s voter rolls, with 1,935 (21%) of those ineligible voters casting counted ballots.
During the Michigan GOP Endorsement Convention, populist newcomers rolled through established incumbents like bowling balls thundering through wooden pins.
Between April and June 2021, during two Senate Elections Committee hearings via Zoom, the Secretary of State Benson admitted to mailing, unsolicited, 7.7 million absentee ballot applications. Approximately 500,000 of those mailers were postmarked undeliverable and returned.
“What happened to them?” Sen. Johnson asked, to no response. She later wrote, “I’m not sure if she ever removed them from the QVF [qualified voter file].” She estimated that 300,000 misaddressed applications were never reported because the mailers neglected to ask recipients to notify the SOS office if the addressees were not residents. About 400 concerned citizens took the initiative to alert Sen. Johnson to the breach of election integrity.
Prior to leaving office to take her seat as a newly elected senator in 2019, Johnson left incoming SOS Benson 177,000 ineligible voters to remove from the voter rolls, “per the federal laws, as they were flagged in the QVF count down.” Unfortunately, Johnson said, Secretary Benson kept them on the rolls and sent them absentee ballot applications.
“Out of all the pre-filled out absentee ballot applications she [Benson] sent out, I believe over 800,000 were to non-qualified voters,” Johnson said. “A judge ruled this was wrong. Too late to fix.”
Tallies gave Joe Biden the win in Michigan by around 154,000 votes.
Sunrise or sunset?
“If people don’t think they have the power to solve their problems, they won’t even think about how to solve them.”
―Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
If one stumbling block may thwart the left’s rabid appetite for taking over this nation, it is the pesky issue of America’s heritage. Communism, often disguised under the less repugnant terms of socialism and Marxism, depends on the subjugation of the people. For totalitarianism to seize control, the people must bow to their overlords. But Americans tend to be can-do individuals, descended of rugged pioneers and leather-skinned cowboys, from tenacious immigrants and inventive entrepreneurs.
One testimonial to the resilience of one’s heritage may be found in Owosso barber Karl Manke. After state bureaucrats pulled his business license and issued a court order for him to shutter his doors, and under threat of being carted off to jail, Manke continued to snip the hair of his customers. His stream of customers grew to a flood of raging rapids as supporters poured in from all parts of the state.
“I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel—I could care less,” the feisty 77-year-old great-grandfather told the media in May 2020. Manke’s case worked its way to the Michigan Supreme Court.
In June 2020, Manke prevailed against the overreaching government.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer ignored the Mich. Supreme Court ruling and persisted in choking off the lifeblood of small businesses in favor of feeding the distended bellies of large corporations.
July 2021, more than a year after the Manke ruling, Unlock Michigan’s successful grassroots petition forced the governor to stand down. Driven by poor judgment or spite (or both), she deployed her Dept. of Health and Human Services to re-impose her “mandates.”
The people’s Unlock 2 petition emerged on the horizon.
In the August 2022 primary, Flint Democrat election inspectors outnumbered Republicans 92% to 6%, and that city was hardly atypical. With the aid of Erick Kaardal, special counsel to the Thomas More Society, PIME filed a demand letter. Two days later, the clerk resigned.
The left, in response to the pinch of resistance, has ratcheted up its Saul Alinsky tactics. But try as they might to paint skeptical citizens as insurrectionists, conspiracy theorists, and election deniers, this nation’s heart beats to the rhythm of dissent.
It’s okay to doubt. In fact, it is a citizen’s duty.
This penchant for silencing free speech lies at the core of why totalitarian regimes are doomed to fail. Despots crush new ideas and innovation. Just as in 1633, the pope confined Galileo to house arrest for the remainder of his life because the man with a telescope had the audacity to claim that Earth revolved around the Sun. So too, the left sees free speech as a threat to their world order.
Liberty takes root in free speech’s fertile soil, and where there exists the open exchange of ideas, truth will grow. The fundamental underpinning of our republic comes down to one sentence: People are endowed by their creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This brings me back to my stare-down contest with Belle. The year 1633 is long gone, but one would be mistaken to assume these are safer times. This nation, having avoided a global kinetic war for the past 70-plus years, is ill-prepared for asymmetrical warfare. The enemies of freedom have aligned to bring down the sole superpower blocking their path to world domination.
I hope Belle never wakes to wonder how her universally popular candidate lost yesterday’s election. May she never hear her gender-transitional grandchild say his real mother is the Motherland and his classmates are his real family. May she never be told that her social score has nosedived because her grandchild turned in his biological father for speaking ill of the Great Leader. May Belle never have to forego travel because she is forbidden to charge her electric car, or she cannot buy a new battery because one nation controls all the rare earth minerals, manufactures the batteries, and has embargoed our shores. May the grocery store shelves never go bare in Belle’s lifetime. May she never be forced to surrender her guns, her gold, and the deed to her land because ownership of those items and private property is forbidden. May she never be told her hardships come from capitalist pig landlords or Jews or racist nationalists who hate her. Let us hope Belle never has to ask, How did this happen?
“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.”
Patrice Johnson is chair of Michigan Fair Elections and Pure Integrity Michigan Elections. She authored The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson, the first-place winner of the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for new nonfiction. The book is the basis for the currently airing nationally syndicated PBS documentary, FINDING TYLER. Johnson has founded four successful technology companies and holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Michigan State University.