• Wed. Oct 4th, 2023


All content has been processed with publicly available content spinners, ML, NLP, Ai and a hint of oregano. Not for human consumption.

Melissa Carone, an Election Denier Who Was Parodied by ‘S.N.L.,’ Is Disqualified

Melissa Carone was supposed to be a star witness for Rudolph W. Giuliani on his election denial tour, but she is perhaps better known as a caricature on “Saturday Night Live” — a mercurial purveyor of wild conspiracy theories about fraud and miscounted ballots whom Mr. Giuliani shushed in the middle of her testimony.

Her next move was to run for the legislature in Michigan, joining a host of election deniers across the nation who have sought public office since former President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But her plans were short-circuited on Tuesday, when the Michigan Department of State disqualified Ms. Carone, 35, a former election contractor, as a Republican primary candidate for a State Senate seat outside of Detroit.

The office said that Ms. Carone, along with 10 other legislative candidates, had made false statements on an affidavit that candidates were required to submit to election administrators. On one of the forms that was signed by Ms. Carone, she had attested that she did not have any unpaid fines for election law violations and that all of her public campaign filings were up-to-date. The county clerk where Ms. Carone was running for office said on Wednesday that had not been the case.

It was the second time in recent months that Ms. Carone had been disqualified as a candidate: The Macomb County Clerk & Register of Deeds barred her in March from the Aug. 2 primary for state representative.

When she signed the affidavit, Ms. Carone had owed at least $125 in late fees for missing the deadline twice for quarterly campaign filings in 2021, according to a letter from the clerk that was obtained by The New York Times. She had also failed to file an annual statement for 2022 for her campaign and an amendment to a quarterly report last October, the letter said.

Ms. Carone, who was played by the “Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily Strong in the show’s cold open in December 2020, blamed the situation on a former campaign manager whom she said in an interview on Wednesday did not file the paperwork.

She accused Republican election officials and the party’s leaders of conspiring to keep her off the ballot.

“This is how our elected officials keep good candidates from getting elected,” Ms. Carone said. “I’m going to fight it. Even if I don’t end up on the ballot, my voice will be heard. I’m not going anywhere. I will still be exposing these establishment sellout RINOs in the Michigan G.O.P.”

Anthony G. Forlini, a Republican who is the Macomb County clerk, said on Wednesday that his office had been following the law and that the disqualification of Ms. Carone was not politically motivated.

“From our standpoint, she was kicked off the ballot because she basically perjured herself,” Mr. Forlini said.

Mr. Forlini said that it is a felony in Michigan to make a false statement on affidavits like those signed by candidates.

“We’re just sticking to the letter of the law,” he said. “She likes the drama, and she’s been feeding on it.”

Mr. Forlini said that he could not speak to the specifics of Ms. Carone’s recent disqualification by the Michigan Department of State, a separate agency headed by Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is secretary of state.

A spokeswoman for that agency said on Wednesday that she could not further discuss the nature of the false statements that led to Ms. Carone’s disqualification, which was announced in conjunction with the other candidates who were barred on Tuesday.

A receipt filed with the secretary of state’s office showed that Ms. Carone had paid $125 in late fees with a check on March 24, three days after she signed the affidavit attesting that she did not owe anything.

Gustavo Portela, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, rejected Ms. Carone’s assertions that there was a concerted effort to keep her off the primary ballot.

“Terrible candidates seem to find it hard to take accountability for themselves so they pass the blame to others,” he said in an email on Wednesday.

Ms. Carone claimed she was contracted by Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company that has been the target of a baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theory about rigged voting machines. The company called her claims defamatory and sent her a cease and desist letter.

During an election oversight hearing held by legislators in Michigan in December 2020, she testified that she had observed over 20 acts of fraud — not counting ballots found in rivers and under a rock — and that at least 30,000 ballots had been counted multiple times. A judge in Wayne County Circuit Court had already found Ms. Carone’s claims — made in an affidavit seeking to stop the certification of votes — were “not credible.”

At times combative and glib, Ms. Carone’s performance was widely mocked, including by “Saturday Night Live.”

“To be honest with you, I didn’t watch it for a really long time,” she said on Wednesday. “I think it’s funny. That kind of stuff doesn’t make me mad. I don’t care.”