Small right-wing crowd demands so-called 'forensic audit' in Lansing but doesn’t enter the Michigan Capitol as planned
An attendee wears a “Three Percenters” patch (far-right, anti-government militia group) to a right-wing rally calling for a so-called “audit” of the 2020 election at the Michigan Capitol, Feb. 8, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

A few dozen GOP protesters demanding a so-called “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election gathered outside the Michigan Capitol Tuesday and stayed outside, despite the rally initially calling for thousands of people to flood the building and demand action.

The rally featured speakers, including former state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who has been a leading figure in circulating misinformation about the 2020 election, and state Senate candidate Mike Detmer. The real estate manager recently told a crowd at a Livingston County event that Michiganders “need to be prepared to lock and load” and to “show up armed” to polling places for future elections.

President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan. Nonetheless, claims of widespread voter fraud have been repeated by right-wing extremists for the last 14 months.

A right-wing group, “Audit Forward,” has a ballot measure that would require a so-called “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election.

Another ballot measure backed by Republicans, “Secure MI Vote,” which would enact sweeping voting restrictions, was circulating petitions at Tuesday’s rally, as was the “Unlock Michigan 2” campaign seeking to shift more power away from health experts and toward politicians.

State Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) and his wife, Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, were also at the event, but neither took the podium.

Last month, CNN published audio of Meshawn explaining that Trump’s campaign directly coordinated the December 2020 operation to have a slate of fake Electoral College delegates submit a certificate declaring a phony Trump victory in Michigan.

Colbeck said at the podium that the crowd would not be going inside and he would not be speaking on the floor.

“Obviously, I want a full forensic audit to happen here in the state of Michigan. I’ve got a right to that audit under article two, section four of the Michigan Constitution. And today, we have not gotten an audit,” Colbeck said to the crowd.