A Michigan government employee who was honored by the state’s Democratic Party is now facing multiple election fraud charges.
Police arrested Sherikia Hawkins, 38, a city clerk for the city of Southfield, on Monday and charged her with six election fraud felonies after the Oakland County Clerk’s Office found voter count discrepancies while certifying absentee ballots from Southfield in the November 2018 election, the Detroit Free Press reported.
A state police investigation found that nearly 200 voting records had been improperly listed as invalid.
“Our elections are the foundation of our democracy, and under my and Attorney General [Dana] Nessel’s administration there will be no tolerance for any actions that undermine that foundation — anywhere, anytime, by any person or official,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement.
Michigan police found that 193 absentee ballots were changed in the computer system to say that there was no date listed or no return date when they both had valid signatures and return dates.
Benson said the alleged fraud did not affect the outcome of the November 2018 elections.
“All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted and the final official vote total was accurate,” Benson said during a press conference, according to the Detroit News.
Hawkins’ arrest comes just months after she received the Dingell/Levin Award at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Legacy Dinner.
Her government bio on her Southfield city clerk web page also notes that she won the 2017 Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 Award, the 2017 Oakland County Executive Elite 40 under 40 award, and the 2018 Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence Award, among many others.
Hawkins was charged with falsifying returns or records; forgery of a public record; misconduct in office, and three counts of using a computer to commit a felony.
She faces a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. She was booked and later released on $15,000 bond. She has two other hearings scheduled, one for September 30 and another for October 15.