Michigan Official Honored by Democrats Faces Election Fraud Charges
City clerk for the city of Southfield, Sherikia Hawkins, was arrested on Monday
A Michigan official, who had previously received an honorary award from the state’s Democratic Party, is facing 6 felony charges for allegedly forging records and falsely marking absentee ballots as 'invalid' in the 2018 election.
City clerk for the city of Southfield, Sherikia Hawkins, was arrested on Monday after discrepancies in voter counts where noticed by the Oakland County Clerk’s office during the certification of absentee ballots from Southfield.
During the investigation, state police found records had been altered, leaving almost 200 voter files improperly listed as invalid.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement on the case:
“Our elections are the foundation of our democracy, and under my and Attorney General [Dana] Nessel’s administration there will be no tolerance for any actions that undermine that foundation — anywhere, anytime, by any person or official."
Michigan police discovered that 193 absentee voter files were altered in the city’s computer system to say they had no signature or no return date, despite having valid signatures and return dates.
After the Oakland County Election Director Joseph Rozell found that the altered reports were submitted by Hawkins, his staff found the original ones in a trash can at the election division office.
But Benson emphasized that the alleged fraud did not affect the outcome of the election.
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“All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted, and the final official vote total was accurate,” she said, The Detroit News reported.
Hawkins was arrested just months after receiving the Dingell/Levin award on the May 18 at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Legacy Dinner.
She was also listed among the "40 under 40" by the Michigan Chronicle in 2017, according to a government bio from her previous role as Pontiac city clerk.
Hawkins was charged with forgery of a public record, falsifying records in violation of state election law, misconduct in office and three counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
The top count carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
She was charged on Monday and released on $15,000 bond, according to a state press release.
Hawkins has a likely cause conference set for Sept. 30, and another hearing scheduled for Oct. 15.