Macomb Co. hiring ‘Stop the Steal’ activist to recruit and train poll workers prompts protest

‘People are nervous that their ballots won’t be truly counted’

By: - October 21, 2022 10:44 am

A Stop The Steal is posted inside of the Capitol Building after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, breaking windows in the deadly insurrection attempt aimed at stopping Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the November election. | Jon Cherry | Getty Images

She’s an election denier who urged Jan. 6 rioters to “storm the gates,” rallied with the Proud Boys and livestreamed a “Stop the Steal” protest outside the home of the Michigan Secretary of State.

And now that Genevieve Peters has been hired by GOP Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini to help recruit and train poll workers, community leaders gathered Thursday for a press conference in front of the Macomb County Clerk’s Office demanding that she be removed from her position.

Genevieve Peters | Facebook

Among those in attendance was Macomb County Commissioner Antoinette Wallace.

“People are nervous that their ballots won’t be truly counted,” she told reporters, “That’s a concern.” 

Also speaking was civil rights attorney Huwaida Arraf, who said Peters’ hiring is completely misplaced.

“She is in a sensitive position she should not be in,” said Arraf. “This completely undermines the integrity of our elections.”

Those concerns are based on well-documented actions by Peters that predate the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. 

She was present at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing for a Second Amendment rally in September 2020 along with armed members of the Proud Boys, the self-described “western chauvinists” classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Then just weeks after the election, Peters live streamed from outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Joycelyn Benson’s home during a protest in which police said some of the protesters were armed. On Nov. 8, Benson is facing Republican nominee Kristina Karamo, who also is an election denier.

Peters was in Washington, D.C,. on January 6, 2021, rallying rioters as they broke into the U.S. Capitol. The insurrection left five people dead and 140 police injured.

“We will storm the gates,” she said into a bullhorn. “We will storm the Capitol. This is our house. We own this.”

Despite that history, Forlini has defended hiring Peters, telling The Macomb Daily she was “head and shoulders above the rest” of the applicants.

Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini

“She is very vocal and has a strong personality,” said Forlini. “I look for strong personalities when I hire. She certainly has her own view on things but nothing in the office.”

Forlini, a GOP former House member, ordered a “forensic audit” following the 2020 presidential election, even though Trump defeated Biden 53%-45% in the county. Biden defeated Trump in the state by about 154,000 votes.

The audit found no evidence of fraud.

However, Wallace said Peters needs to reconcile her previous actions before there can be trust in her carrying out her duties in a nonpartisan and fair manner.

“Maybe she should come out and support him as much as he has supported her and say, ‘I apologize,’ or ‘I was wrong,’ or maybe she doesn’t feel like she was wrong in any way, but I think we should hear that because, like I said, voters are nervous,” Wallace said.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.

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