The Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins was charged on Monday with six election fraud felonies for her role in the November 2018 election.
Hawkins allegedly altered 193 absentee voter records, according to a statement from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“Our elections are the foundation of our democracy, and under my and Attorney General Nessel’s administration there will be no tolerance for any actions that undermine that foundation – anywhere, anytime, by any person or official,” Benson said in a statement.
Hawkins, 38, was charged with falsifying returns and records, forgery of a public record, misconduct in office and three counts of using a computer to commit a crime. The charges carry up to a 14-year penalty and $30,000 in fines.
The Michigan State Police were alerted to the possibility of election fraud and began its investigation on March 14, a spokesperson for the attorney general told Battleground State News.
The fraud was discovered when a post-election audit showed irregularities between the number of absentee ballots recorded and the final vote tallies, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“When we took office, both Secretary Benson and I committed to doing everything in our power to make sure that Michigan’s elections were safe from every conceivable threat,” said Nessel. “That commitment — made to the people of this state — includes taking swift and decisive action when a public official fails to fulfill the important role that he or she plays in protecting the integrity of our elections.”
Both Nessel and Benson emphasized that Hawkins’ actions were an outlier and did not have an impact on election results, said the National Review.
Hawkins has served as Southfield City Clerk since 2017.
“The City does not have all of the facts at this time and there will be no rush to judgement,” said the City of Southfield in a statement. “The City will also be conducting a thorough internal investigation and review of these charges.”
Hawkins has been put on administrative leave. A preliminary examination hearing is set for October 15.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter for Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]