A video surfaced Sunday of Republican candidates in Michigan seemingly encouraging supporters to come to the polls armed and tamper with machines if they don’t like the outcome. Speaking during a meet and greet, Republican candidate for state senate Mike Detmer seems to advocate for an armed response to election outcomes.
“The ideal thing is to do this peacefully,” Detmer said. “But the American people, at some point in time, if we can’t change the tide…we need to be prepared to lock and load.”
He then tells supporters that they can take up arms if they want to do something.
“So if you ask ‘what can we do?’ Show Up armed,” Detmer said.
Detmer, who Trump has endorsed, doubled down on his social media. Trump reportedly endorsed against incumbent state Sen. L because she would not back the false claims of widespread fraud and call for a forensic audit after the 2020 election.
According to the Livingston Post, Detmer advocated the extreme position after the 2020 election that people allegedly guilty of nonexistent fraud should be put to death. He also previously claimed the 2020 election was treason, despite claims of election tampering being refuted by multiple sources over the past year.
He previously made waves during the 2020 election cycle for saying he fully endorsed the Proud Boys positions. When asked during the Saturday event about upcoming elections, Detmer continued to play into misplaced concerns about election integrity.
Detmer joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan D. Kelley during the Livingston County event. Kelley told attendees that Republicans were working to recruit more election workers, claiming that most of those who run election operations were Democrats. He advised people to take action if they see something they don’t like on election day.
At approximately 6:25 of the full video, Kelley advises people to take matters into their own hands on election day.
“If you see something happening you don’t like happening with the machines, if you see something going on, unplug it from the wall,” Kelley said. “Take control of the narrative.”
According to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, that is not only the incorrect procedure for addressing an issue with election administration. It’s also illegal.
“Voter intimidation and tampering with election machines is illegal,” Tweeted Benson. “Any attempt to illegally interfere with our elections or threaten the safety of our election officials will be immediately referred to @MIAttyGen who will prosecute violation sot the fullest extent of the law.”
Despite continued claims of disproven election fraud, candidates like Kelley and Detmer continue to double down in bad faith. Encouraging violence or disruption of election administration is not the way to address alleged frustrations with the process.