But they rebuffed Mr. Trump nonetheless, issuing a statement shortly after leaving the White House affirming that they had seen no evidence that would change the outcome of the election and would let the winner of the popular vote stand.
But the Trump team seized on any routine mistakes or far-fetched allegations to advance the cause. In Rochester Hills, in Oakland County, votes in one precinct were posted in the absentee tally and then also posted in the in-person total without first being removed from the absentee count.
The mistake was quickly caught and rectified before the results became official, but Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, claimed that “we found 2,000 ballots that had been given to Democrats, that were Republican ballots, due to a clerical error.”
Ms. Barton, who has served as the Rochester Hills clerk for eight years, learned about Ms. McDaniel’s comment from a reporter and promptly took to social media to rebut the “categorically false” assertion. “As a Republican, I am disturbed that this is intentionally being mischaracterized to undermine the election process,” Ms. Barton said in a video she posted to Twitter, which was viewed more than 1.2 million times.
Ms. Barton, 49, is another graduate from Liberty University, where she earned a master’s degree after graduating from Great Lakes University in Michigan. She posts Bible verses online and has said that “God orders my steps.” She served for eight years as the deputy clerk in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Township before being appointed to the Rochester Hills post and has earned respect from both Republicans and Democrats.
She was initially reluctant to give Ms. McDaniel’s claim any validity by responding but decided she had no choice. “In relaying the truth, I was going to be opening myself up to criticism and if I ever thought about running for office again, that would be impacted,” she said. “But the real cost was in voter confidence. I told my deputy that all these things have to be put aside and I have to speak the truth.”
Soon she found herself the target of profane and threatening emails and telephone calls, and while she took comfort that she was safe because her husband is a sheriff’s deputy, they nonetheless upgraded the security system at home. “It’s just devastating to see what the response has been to our profession and how we have come, as a country, to think that violence and threats is the answer,” she said.
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