GOP election challengers complain about social distancing, ‘Karen’ quips in affidavits

Pro-Trump protesters at Detroit's TCF Center | Ken Coleman photo

In a lawsuit filed in Michigan federal court by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, more than 100 people allege problems in the processing and counting of ballots in Detroit last week. However, as the Washington Post noted, the Trump campaign does not show any evidence of fraud.

The Associated Press on Nov. 4 declared former Vice President and current Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. Biden leads Trump by 146,990 votes in unofficial Secretary of State returns, or a 3% margin. AP on Saturday declared Biden president-elect.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Michigan. Here are a few of the affidavits included in the filing: 

  • Colleen Scheider contended that “I didn’t see Republicans around me at all.” 
  • Alexandra Seely stated that she challenged 10 votes at a one table that she observed. She said that “they would not take out the log to record my challenges,” referring to election officials on site. 
  • Due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, Andrew Miller said that he was instructed to remain at least six feet from a vote processing table but a “Democrat” was not instructed to do so. 
  • Beverly Bellew said “there were several instances where poll workers used their bodies to prevent me from watching and observing the ballot counting process.” 
  • Braden Gaicobazzi said “the first thing that I noticed was at least one person outside the ballroom entrance had a BLM [Black Lives Matter] mask on. She appeared to be doing temperature checks. Once inside, it was apparent that many and probably most tables in the room were hostile to people with GOP lanyards.
  • Dyanna Popsdorf said that there was a “vast difference in treatment between Democrats/ nonpartisans vs. GOP.”
  • Jennifer Lindsay Cooper was trained in Waterford Township and worked at a poll there on Election Day. On Nov. 4, she worked at TCF Center in Detroit, where she said she was “harassed by Democrat challengers. I was told to ‘go back to the suburbs, Karen’ and other harassing statements.”  

Nessel rips DOJ election fraud memo, says it’s designed to help Trump  

“Karen” is a term that is used to describe a white woman who is perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. It is generally associated with white privilege. 

Chris Thomas, a former state Bureau of Elections chief who served under Democrats and Republicans, said on Nov. 4 that no one party had an advantage over the other and it was fair. Thomas has served as an adviser to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey.  

Mark Brewer, a former Michigan Democratic Party chair, who was on site at TCF Center working as a challenger during vote processing, posted on Facebook: 

“An update on post-election activities all intended by Trump and the GOP to steal the election from the voters of Michigan. There have now been 6 frivolous lawsuits filed in Michigan state and federal courts by the Trump campaign and its allies, second only to Pennsylvania. Five of them basically make the same meritless and racist claims about the Detroit absentee ballot counting process.”

A new Trump-backed suit filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Michigan seeks to throw out 1.2 million votes in three counties that are all Democratic strongholds: Wayne, Washtenaw and Ingham so that Trump could be declared the winner. That would essentially disenfranchise about one-fifth of last week’s electorate.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.