State Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) at a right-wing rally calling for a so-called “audit” of the 2020 election at the Michigan Capitol, Oct. 12, 2021 | Laina G. Stebbins
A Michigan legislator is under scrutiny as part of an investigation into whether third parties gained unauthorized access to election equipment and data after the 2020 election.
State Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) tried to gain access to a tabulator, according to Reuters, which reported that a township clerk in Roscommon County said Rendon made the request, which was denied, shortly after the November 2020 election.
Carol Asher, the Republican clerk of Denton Township, said it was odd Rendon contacted her on her personal cell phone on a Saturday to make the request and “was adamant” that access be granted that weekend because others working with Rendon were in town.
“If this was legitimate, you come in here with a paper written from the Secretary of State or something,” said Asher. “I thought it was kind of strange, but I said, ‘No, we could never allow it’.”
Markey Township Clerk Sheryl Tussey, also a Republican, said Rendon made a similar request of her, which she also denied.
The Detroit News, meanwhile, reports Rendon’s unusual requests have “entangled” her in an investigation of the matter by the Michigan State Police (MSP) and Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
MSP began looking into the issue in February when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson requested an investigation after her office received reports that an unnamed third party was able to access vote tabulator components and technology in Roscommon County.
Benson said that following a court order, Dominion Voting System tabulators were accessed in Antrim County in December 2020 by a third party with the data that was collected then used to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud.
There are several right-wing conspiracy theories about Dominion and Antrim County in the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. Republicans in Michigan and nationwide have baselessly claimed voting equipment was “rigged” against Trump. Preliminary Antrim County election results briefly showed Biden winning due to human error, but the mistake was quickly corrected.
Rendon has been a vocal supporter of those baseless claims. Following the release of a report by the Republican-controlled Senate Oversight Committee in June 2021 that it found no widespread fraud in the election, Rendon released a statement disputing that conclusion without providing evidence.
“I am in receipt of evidence reflecting systematic election fraud in Michigan that occurred in the November 2020 election,” said Rendon. “Many Michigan voters believe that the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee’s conclusion was formed without a proper investigation, and so I encourage attorneys in Michigan and beyond to pursue legal avenues that will reveal truth and transparency to the citizens of the United States.”
The Detroit News reported that Rendon claimed “two IT experts” said the tabulators were able to be hacked and had “IP addresses on them for countries outside of the U.S.,” but could not provide any proof.
Rendon, who has been seen wearing a pin associated with QAnon conspiracy theory, also spoke at a Trump-endorsed rally in Lansing last October seeking a so-called “forensic audit” of the election.
“Now we’ve seen the evidence [of election fraud]. … We’ve seen a lot of evidence. Why doesn’t anyone else want to see it?” Rendon said on stage at the rally, without offering details of the evidence.
Rendon was also one of several Michigan lawmakers who sought to disrupt the state’s Electoral College vote in December by submitting an illegal slate of GOP “electors” and has been involved in legal efforts to overturn the election and challenge election results.
When asked about Rendon’s involvement by the Michigan Advance, Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll declined to offer any specifics.
“We are not releasing any information regarding the active investigation, so we do not compromise the case,” he said. “We are not disclosing names of any witnesses or persons of interest.”
In response to the report, state Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) issued a statement expressing concern that a fellow legislator was part of an investigation around undue access to voting equipment.
“If true, this would be just the latest in a pattern of behavior from Rep. Rendon, including escorting false electors to the Capitol and aligning herself with baseless conspiracy theories,” said Tate. “I have fully supported [Attorney General Dana] Nessel’s investigation from the beginning, and I expect that anyone who gained unauthorized access to voting equipment, or those who attempted to do so, will face commensurate and immediate consequences.”
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