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Affidavit offers more details on Hawkins charges

Election results were not impacted

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published October 2, 2019

 Sherikia Hawkins

Sherikia Hawkins

SOUTHFIELD/LANSING — According to an affidavit, Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins allegedly altered absentee ballots from the Nov. 6, 2018, election.

On Sept. 23, Hawkins was arrested and charged with six felonies stemming from the election.

Officials said in a press release that discrepancies in the Southfield voter count were brought to the secretary of state’s attention by the Oakland County Clerk’s Office following its efforts to certify Southfield’s absentee ballots.

The Michigan State Police conducted an investigation, according to officials, and determined that election records had been altered.

Hawkins was charged and arraigned in the 46th District Court on six felony counts in front of visiting Judge Michelle Friedman Appel, who is the chief judge of the 45th District Court. Officials said Hawkins was given a $15,000 personal bond.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Joceyln Benson hosted a press conference in Lansing Sept. 23, where they offered further details on Hawkins’ charges.

Benson said Hawkins allegedly made “unauthorized and inaccurate changes” to the list of voters who cast absentee ballots during the election.

However, the changes did not alter the results of the election, she said.

“There were no races that were won or lost as a result, and there were no voters that were disenfranchised. All valid votes in the election were ultimately counted, and the final official vote total was accurate,” Benson said during the press conference.

In the interest of Hawkins’ right to a fair trial, Benson declined to elaborate on a possible motive for the alleged actions.

“I know this case is likely to draw a significant amount of public attention. It’s very important that the public learns about the facts of the case through the course of court proceedings,” Benson said. “That’s why we have to try this case in court and not in the media.”

Harold Gurewitz, an attorney for Hawkins, said in a previous report that his team is still looking over the charges against Hawkins, but plans on contesting them.

A pre-exam conference for Hawkins is slated for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 3 in Southfield.

Hawkins, who was elected as Southfield city clerk in 2017, has been charged with:

• Election law – falsifying returns/records, punishable by five years and/or $1,000.

• Forgery of a public record, a 14-year felony.

• Misconduct in office, punishable by five years and/or $10,000.

• Using a computer to commit a crime – election law – falsifying returns/records, punishable by seven years and/or $5,000.

• Using a computer to commit a crime – forgery of a public record, a 10-year felony and/or $10,000.

• Using a computer to commit a crime – misconduct in office, a seven-year felony and/or $5,000.