Southfield City, Michigan Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins, a city official is being charged with ballot tampering during the 2018 mid-term elections.
Hawkins is being accused of illegally altering 193 absentee voter records.
The Michigan Democratic Party gave Hawkins a shoutout last May and made her honoree for the Dingell/Levin Award.
The DetroitNews reports Southfield City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins was charged Monday with six felony counts over “unauthorized and inaccurate” changes to absentee ballots in the November 2018 election.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson made a joint announcement of the charges in Detroit, calling it a “rare” case.
“Voting is fundamental to the very essence of our democracy,” Nessel said during a Monday news conference. “It is incumbent upon state governments to safeguard the electoral process and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected.”
Allegations that Hawkins altered 193 absentee voter records came to light during the 14-day canvass following the election. Benson said the Oakland County Clerk’s Office reported with the Bureau of Elections “the potential for these irregularities and from there we began our investigation.”
Hawkins’ alleged actions, did not alter the outcome of any election, Benson stressed, and “there were no voters that were disenfranchised.”
“All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted and the final official vote total was accurate,” Benson said.
Hawkins, a Democrat who just a few months ago was honored by the state party with the Dingell/Levin Award at its Legacy Dinner in Detroit, could not be reached Monday at her office for comment or a number listed in public records. Her attorney also could not be reached.
The potential misconduct was referred to Michigan State Police for an investigation. Benson on Monday released few details, citing the ongoing criminal case.
After taking office in January, Benson and Nessel, both Democrats, wanted to make sure the state’s elections were protected from “every conceivable threat,” Nessel said.
“Every citizen must know that when they enter the ballot box, the vote that they cast will be counted and that the collective will of the voters will be carried out,” Nessel said.
Hawkins, 38, was arraigned Monday in 46th District Court in Southfield on the charges, which include election law-falsifying returns or records, forgery of a public record, misconduct in office and multiple counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
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Southfield City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins was charged today with six felony counts tied to her administration of the November 2018 election. https://t.co/BX7MuWEfOn
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) September 23, 2019