FACT CHECK: In New TV Ad, Kevin Rinke Shoulders the Baseless Crusade to Relitigate Past Elections and Ignore Mass Fraud Within His Own Party

“…In each case [of dead voter fraud] the defendant was either a registered Republican or acknowledged voting for Trump.” – Detroit Free Press

Fresh off his Mackinac Island debate performance in which he did the same, out-of-touch millionaire Kevin Rinke has released yet another ad touting his wrong-for-Michigan agenda that relies on even more election disinformation that he’s already spewed throughout his campaign to justify making it harder for Michiganders to vote.

Rinke has spent more than $2 million running misleading ads and leveling false attacks on Whitmer’s leadership since the start of the 2022 cycle, compounded by this latest “seven-figure statewide ad buy.” Here are the facts:

Rinke’s Ad Relies on a Thoroughly Debunked Claim That Dead Voters Had an Impact on 2020

Rinke opens his new ad with the claim that dead voters were exploited to manipulate the outcome of previous elections. In reality, following the 2020 general election, the Secretary of State’s office did not find “a single confirmed case showing that a ballot was actually cast on behalf of a deceased individual.” Despite independent fact checks from multiple credible outlets, the MIGOP and Republican legislators including Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey continued to prop up the baseless lie. 

And this past March, Doug Ringler, the Auditor General appointed by the Republican-led state legislature, determined that “dead voters had no impact on the 2020 election.” Ringler’s report additionally clarified that the majority of the 0.03% of ballots attributed to dead people were legitimately cast when the voter was still alive. As for the rest of the millions of votes cast in the 2020 election, a separate state audit confirmed that 99.9% of all ballots tabulated were indeed valid.

Audited Over 250 Times, Michigan’s 2020 Election Was the Most Secure in State History, Republican-Led Study Also Confirmed There Was No Evidence of Fraud

As of December 2021, “more than 250 audits” of the 2020 election have been conducted by both Republican and Democratic local election clerks alike. All have affirmed the truth: that the election was secure and accurate.

Rinke has refused to acknowledge the fact that the Republican-led Senate Oversight Committee released a 55-page report definitively stating that there was “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud.” Presented by Committee Chair Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), the report additionally referred to the 2020 crusade as “a nationwide conspiracy to steal the election” in which its supporters “place all other statements and actions they make in a position of zero credibility.” 

Rinke’s Ad Ignores the Only Legitimate Source of Fraud in Michigan Election History – His Former Fellow Gubernatorial Candidates

Kevin Rinke has categorically ignored the mass and blatant fraudulent activity exhibited by his fellow Republican gubernatorial candidates which amounted to the biggest ballot shakeup in Michigan political history.

Both the Michigan Court of Appeals and Court of Claims ruled that candidates would not appear on the ballot after submitting tens of thousands of forged and fraudulent signatures.

These bogus signatures were sourced from dead voters and an illegal “round robin” forging scheme in which “a small group of people sign[ing] names and addresses in turn, one per sheet, using a voter list” – a point thoroughly sidestepped by MIGOP as the party scrambled to keep their hand picked favorites on the ballot, embarrassing several members of their own party.

Rather than accept the consequences of their fraudulent behavior and respect the integrity of Michigan election law, every candidate but Mike Brown is refusing to drop out. Instead they continue to push the notion that they shouldn’t have to meet the same expectations of personal responsibility as every other candidate that qualified for the ballot without incident. 

Despite their attempts to shift blame, all affirmed under penalty of perjury that “the facts contained in the [nominating petitions] set forth” were confirmed by them to be accurate and verifiable. 

Rinke Has One of the Most Extreme Anti-Voter Agendas Among Gubernatorial Republicans This Cycle

Like the rest of the crowded Republican field, out-of-touch millionaire Kevin Rinke has downplayed the violent insurrection and propped up election conspiracy theories, all to achieve his ultimate goal of dismantling the democratic process.

When explicitly asked during an interview if he was planning to “understate or diminish what happened on January 6th…to court the former president’s endorsement,” Rinke refused to qualify the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election as an insurrection, referring to it as a “Trump rally” instead.

And between his issues page and intro ad, Rinke made the baseless claim that “2020 election was rife with administrative problems, leading to a tainted election,” cited unsubstantiated “voter fraud,” and pledged to “audit the voter rolls” – an extreme step that even the most vocal candidates on this issue like Garrett Soldano and Ryan Kelley have yet to take in their crusade to undermine public trust in the electoral process and limit Michiganders’ freedom to participate in democracy.

Over the Republican primary debates that have taken place this cycle, Rinke has baselessly claimed that 2020 represented “maybe the greatest fraud ever in the history of our country.” He is using this lie to justify his plan to use state police to “aggressively pursue and stop any irregularities” supposedly taking place on Election Day, a move he knows would only intimidate voters in precincts – especially Michiganders of color. It would also be a massive burden to taxpayers. A similar initiative in Florida will cost the state nearly $4 million to fund. 

Voter ID is Already a State Mandate in Michigan

Rinke’s fixation on voter ID laws rings hollow as it is already the standard in Michigan. But rather than acknowledge that fact, he has thrown his support behind the intentionally disenfranchising Secure MI Vote ballot petition, criticizing Governor Whitmer for vetoing similar legislation last year. One of the main goals of the initiative founded by fellow election conspiracy theorists is to eliminate an affidavit option that allows voters without an ID to cast a ballot “under penalty of perjury” that already does not get counted until they are reviewed and approved by election officials.

Based on recent elections, eliminating this option would have shut nearly 20,000 Michiganders out of the right to exercise their vote, the majority of which came from communities of color.

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