Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said protesters demanding the overturning of the state’s presidential election results threatened her family with violence on Sunday.
In a statement detailing the ordeal, Benson said that “dozens of armed individuals stood outside” her home “shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns” their demand for her to use her powers as secretary of state to overturn the will of the electorate, which voted in the majority for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
The protests began just after Benson and her 4-year-old son had finished decorating the house for Christmas and were about to watch a movie together, she added.
Benson decried their actions, noting that she is also a staunch defender of the right of free speech.
“I have always been an energetic advocate for the right and importance of peaceful protests as enshrined in the United States Constitution,” Benson said. “However, there is a line crossed when gatherings are done with the primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office they solemnly took as elected officials.”
The state official described protesters outside of her home as an “extension of the noise and clouded efforts to spread false information about the security and accuracy of our elections.”
She announced she would not give in to the demands by those who want to see the election results ignored. “I have spent my career defending and protecting the right to vote of every eligible citizen. That commitment has never wavered, and it will not waver now.”
For the past several weeks, President Donald Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, alleging without providing proof that fraudulent ballots or other voting irregularities resulted in his loss.
Because of his continued efforts to contest the election results, some election officials have worried about the possibility that some of Trump’s supporters could respond violently.
“Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. And it’s not right. It’s not right,” Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for the state of Georgia, warned last week.
Extremist elements of Trump’s base have planned violent actions against state officials in Michigan, likely due to the president’s words and encouragement. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan) was threatened with a kidnapping plot earlier this year, with militia members surveilling Whitmer’s summer home in preparations for abducting her, and planning to use explosives in their eventual scheme.
The plot started to materialize in the spring of this year, around the same time Trump had tweeted for citizens of the state to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” in response to rules and regulations implemented to quell the spread of coronavirus.
Although Trump has contested the results of the election ever since it was called in Biden’s favor in early November, there is no proof or evidence to back up his claims of widespread fraud. Out of around 50 court cases in state and federal courthouses across the country brought forward by Trump’s lawyers or by allies of the president, more than 30 of them have been tossed out or dropped due to their lack of merit, with about a dozen more remaining to be decided yet.
In a recent court case, U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker ruled against a suit brought forward by Sidney Powell, a Trump-aligned lawyer that had requested the election results be tossed out and the state award its Electoral College votes to the incumbent president.
Parker soundly rejected the request.
“Plaintiffs ask this Court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters,” Parker said in her ruling. “This the Court cannot, and will not, do. The people have spoken.”
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