Michigan: Security concerns raised over internet voting for military spouses | Ben Orner/MLive

Michigan’s proposal to allow electronic ballot return over the internet is raising concerns among election security experts, including J. Alex Halderman, a cybersecurity expert and University of Michigan professor, who warns that it could seriously undermine the security of the state’s elections. While Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson argues that Michigan can maintain election integrity through a custom-built hybrid model, experts caution that no existing technology can fully resolve the inherent vulnerability to digital tampering in such systems, posing significant risks to democracy and voter confidence. Read Article

Michigan: Voters oust clerk who doubts election results | Associated Press

Voters in one of Michigan’s most conservative counties have ousted a small-town clerk accused of improperly handling voting equipment after casting doubt on President Joe Biden’s election victory. Stephanie Scott lost Tuesday’s recall election in Hillsdale County’s Adams Township to Suzy Roberts, who got 406 votes to Scott’s 214, according to unofficial results reported by the county clerk’s office. Roberts, a Republican who identifies as an independent, filed as non-party-affiliated in the recall election because Michigan law does not allow for challengers to file under the same political party, the Hillsdale Daily News reported previously. Scott had run unopposed as a first-time Republican candidate when she was chosen in the November 2020 election to handle the voting in Adams Township, a reliably Republican community where the ticket of Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received nearly 76% of the vote that year. But she joined a crew of GOP elections officials around the nation who have questioned the accuracy of U.S. voting systems. Scott is among a number of elections officials around the country accused of mishandling voting equipment in their zeal to uncover fraud.

Full Article: Voters oust Michigan clerk who doubts election results | AP News

Michigan: Secret grand jury has probed post-2020 examination of voting machines | Robert Snell Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

A special prosecutor in Michigan has used the secret tool of a grand jury to weigh criminal charges against a group of Donald Trump’s supporters who obtained and examined voting machines in the battleground state after the 2020 election. The grand jury has sought testimony from individuals as recently as early March in Oakland County, according to three sources familiar with the investigation, which centers on allegations of tampering with voting equipment. The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss grand jury activity. The status of the investigation was unclear Monday, but the grand jury could represent one of a handful of opportunities nationally for criminal charges related to the push to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, the special prosecutor investigating the tampering of voting machines in Michigan, would not comment on the existence of the grand jury. “If a grand jury was convened, I would be prohibited by court order and statute to confirm or deny its existence,” Hilson said in a statement to The News. Hilson cited a state law that makes it a misdemeanor for a person to “publish or make known” any testimony and any proceeding conducted in connection with any grand jury inquiry. Multiple sources told The News in recent days they were legally barred from discussing what was happening behind the scenes with the investigation.

Full Article: Secret grand jury has probed post-2020 examination of voting machines in Michigan

Michigan: Ionia County board denies request to hand count votes for May election | Evan Sasiela/Ionia Sentinel-Standard

Ionia County will continue to utilize an optical scan machine for the May 2023 election after a request to hand count paper ballots was denied. The Ionia County Board of Commissioners voted 6-0 at its March 28 meeting to deny a request from the Ionia County Republican Party for a paper ballot hand count in the May 2 election. Kristie Walls, vice chair of the Ionia County Republican Party, said the request was made due to the election software being close-sourced — meaning it can only be accessed by the manufacturer — and that tabulation equipment has components made in China. Walls, who worked as a financial controller and IT manager for 15 years, said she’d like to see a resolution from the county to support the hand count of paper ballots. “Your public wants you to be aware that we are not confident in election equipment, and these are the reasons why we’re not confident in it,” Walls told the board. “We’d like your support.”

Full Article: Ionia County board denies request to hand count votes for May election

Michigan Court of Appeals deals blow to lawsuit tied to 2020 election | Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s another loss in court for those trying to litigate Michigan’s 2020 presidential election. The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a lower-court ruling dismissing a lawsuit which challenged millions of dollars given to hundreds of local clerks’ offices before the 2020 election. The money came from a foundation run by social media billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The stated intent of the donations was to help the clerks conduct the election during the COVID pandemic. But some Republican voters sued, claiming the real intent was to serve as a “Get out the Vote” effort to help Democrat Joe Biden. Biden won Michigan and the presidency. Last year, a Michigan Court of Claims judge dismissed the suit. “Meritless lawsuits undermine citizens’ well-placed faith in our elections and remain one of the weapons used in the ongoing, multifaceted and well-funded attack on American democracy,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Full Article: Michigan Court of Appeals deals blow to lawsuit tied to 2020 election

Michigan: Tiny township pays for imposter 2020 election auditors’ damage | Mardi Link/Meadville Tribune

A tiny township in the remote woods of Michigan stands as a victim of 2020 vote auditing imposters who broke voting machines and have so far been uncharged and unaccountable, leaving Cross Village with a $5,000 bill even insurance won’t pay. Township Clerk Diana Keller tries to keep calm and carry on and was busy on a recent morning calling the National Weather Service in Gaylord, to report the lakeside community’s temperature and precipitation, a task she’s been doing for years. “On days like this I’m not sure why I do it,” she says, laughing off the challenges of being a volunteer weather-spotter in such a remote place. Fewer than 300 people live in this township year-round, residents are surrounded by forests and remote beaches, where the nearest large grocery store is a half-hour away — and that’s when the roads are clear.

Full Article: Tiny township in Michigan pays for imposter 2020 election auditors’ damage | News | meadvilletribune.com

Michigan House elections committee considers election security bills | Colin Jackson/Michigan Radio

Michigan legislation to ban guns from coming within 100 feet of polling locations and ballot counting centers got a hearing Tuesday before the state House Elections Committee.Representative Stephanie Young (D-Detroit) sponsors a bill in the package. She said her bill is for election workers who felt threatened during recent election cycles.“I believe that it is our job as legislators to do something about making certain people are safe and feel safe,” Young said during Tuesday’s meeting.It’s a sentiment some who spoke in opposition to the bill shared as well.That included Brady Schickinger of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners. He said the bills should make an exception for licensed concealed carry.“We agree with the general intent of the bill. Everyone should feel safe while voting, but we can protect polling sites without a conflict with responsible gun ownership.” Schickinger said.Another pair of bills in the legislation would make it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison to intimidate or keep an election official from doing their job.

Source: House elections committee considers election security bills

Michigan bills would ban guns at polls, punish election worker harassment | Ben Orner/MLive.com

Michigan House Democrats have introduced a package of bills they say will protect election officials and workers by increasing penalties for harassment and banning guns from voting locations. The four bills follow promises that Democrats have made early in this new legislature – where they hold majorities in both chambers – to further secure Michigan’s elections. House Bill 4127, introduced by East Lansing Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou, and HB 4128, introduced by Detroit Rep. Stephanie Young, would make it illegal to possess a firearm at or 100 feet from polling places, ballot drop boxes, early voting locations and absentee vote counting boards. This ban already applies to churches, courts, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals and more. Violation is a misdemeanor punishable with at worst 90 days in prison. Uniformed law enforcement officers are exempt. “Keeping guns away from polling places and counting boards is just common sense,” said Tsernoglou, the House Elections Committee chair, in a statement Thursday. “This legislation will help ensure we all can vote, free from intimidation.” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in 2020 issued a directive to ban open carry at polling places, but a judge struck down her ban before the November election, saying it’s up to the legislature.

Full Article: Bills would ban guns at Michigan polls, punish election worker harassment – mlive.com

Michigan Secretary of State once again calls for firearms ban at polling locations | Priya Vijayakumar/Michigan Radio

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Thursday that she wants to see legislation to ban firearms within 100 feet of polling places. “The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” said Benson at the annual Judge Damon Keith Memorial Soul Food Luncheon. Benson issued a similar directive to local clerks to ban the open carry of firearms at polling places in 2020. But a judge struck down that directive. The plan now is to include the gun ban in legislation on voting rights that’s being drafted. “Our kids deserve to go to school free from fear of gun violence. They deserve to go to church or synagogues or mosques with their families to worship free from fear of gun violence,” said Benson. “They deserve to live in a democracy where their voices are heard and where they can cast their ballots free from intimidation or threats of violence. That is the world I am fighting for.” Benson is collaborating with lawmakers and local election officials on the legislation.

Full Article: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson once again calls for firearms ban at polling locations

Michigan election worker charged with equipment tampering wants Kent County case tossed | Bradley Massman/MLive

An attorney representing a man charged for allegedly tampering with a voting machine wants his client’s case dismissed because of a lack of evidence, court records show. A motion filed in Kent County Circuit Court last month requests a judge to dismiss the charges against 68-year-old James D. Holkeboer. Holkeboer is charged with falsifying records/returns under election law and using a computer to commit a crime for allegedly tampering with a voting machine after the primary election last August. In the motion to quash, defense attorney Charles E. Chamberlain Jr. argued there is no evidence that Holkeboer fraudulently removed or secreted a voter list. “The felony complaint provides that on or about Aug. 3, 2022, Mr. Holkeboer, ‘being an inspector of election, did fraudulently remove or secrete, in whole or in part, an election list of voters, which are required to be made, filed, or preserved by the Michigan election law …,” the motion states. Holkeboer was hired as an election inspector in Precinct 8 for Gaines Township for the Aug. 2 primary election. He is not an employee of Kent County or Gaines Township, but was a resident trained and certified by clerks to work at precincts during elections as well as at absentee ballot counting boards.

Full Article: Election worker charged with equipment tampering wants Kent County case tossed

With a roll of the dice, Michigan begins audit of 2022 election | Ben Orner/MLive.com

Over the next month, state and local election officials will audit Michigan’s 2022 general election, checking the accuracy of results and security of procedures. These more than 200 audits across counties, cities and townships will see Bureau of Elections staff and county clerks review ballots and election administration in randomly selected precincts and identify best practices for future elections. “It is somewhat like a recount, but it is not a recount,” said Michigan elections director Jonathan Brater. “What we’re doing is counting enough containers across the state to make sure that – within a statistical level of certainty – we’re confident that the tabulators got the proper result.” Brater watched Thursday as a handful of local election officials and bureau staff rolled a 10-sided die to determine which batches of ballots will be hand-counted to check the accuracy of Michigan’s vote tabulation machines.

Full Article: With a roll of the dice, Michigan begins audit of 2022 election – mlive.com

Michigan lawmakers announce plans to protect election officials in wake of threats | Anna Gustafson/Michigan Advance

After threats against election workers have soared in the wake of a right-wing campaign to push lies about the 2020 election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Democratic lawmakers announced Tuesday plans to protect election officials and crack down on those intentionally sharing misinformation about elections and voting. “As Michigan’s chief election officer, my responsibility is to ensure that our elections are accessible, safe, secure, and that the results are an accurate reflection of the will of the people,” Benson said during Tuesday’s press conference. “It’s a role that increasingly forces all of us in this work, whether we consider ourselves Republican, Democrat or independent, to endure threats, harassment, false and malicious attacks on our character and integrity, and sometimes even violence. “We cannot have a secure democracy if we do not protect the security of the people who administer, protect and stand guard over our elections,” Benson continued.

Full Article: Benson, Dem lawmakers announce plans to protect election officials in wake of threats ⋆ Michigan Advance

Michigan: Accuracy affirmed or errors exposed? Inside the proposal recount | Ben Orner/Live.com

The rustling of paper overtakes a city hall meeting room as election workers recount thousands of ballots by hand from four central Michigan counties. Votes examined here are among hundreds of thousands from 43 counties recounted since last Wednesday. So far, results have changed very, very little. But where election officials say they’ve seen the accuracy of Michigan’s midterm election upheld, the group behind the recount says it’s seen evidence of misconduct. “[The recount] was just to make sure that the election was accurate and run properly,” said Stefanie Lambert, a lawyer for Election Integrity Force, which requested the recount. “And there’s some very interesting problems that were discovered.” Despite the recount’s massive breadth, which Lambert said came via random sample, Proposals 2 and 3 passed by too many votes to be overturned – about 1.4 million votes combined. Prop 2 expands voting rights, including nine days of early in-person voting, and Prop 3 protects abortion rights. When the Board of State Canvassers greenlit the recount, chair Tony Daunt – a Republican – worried it was a bad-faith “fishing expedition” to further false claims of widespread fraud that originated after the 2020 election.

Full Article: Accuracy affirmed or errors exposed? Inside Michigan’s proposal recount – mlive.com

Michigan elections director warns against further recount ‘disruptions’ | Beth LeBlanc and Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater in a Friday letter warned against disruptions at recount locations across the state, citing examples of some challengers overstepping their roles in the recount process and resulting in at least one individual being escorted from a Marquette recount operation. Challengers who disagree with bureau staff decisions are free to appeal to the Board of State Canvassers, but the Bureau of Elections “will not permit disruptive behavior” at the recount locations, Brater wrote to Daniel Hartman, a lawyer for recount petitioner Jerome Jay Allen and the Election Integrity Force. “To the extent challengers are engaging in this behavior, they run the risk of hindering or delaying the conduct of the recount,” Brater wrote, encouraging challengers to review recount procedure so as to avoid disruptions.

Full Article: Michigan elections director warns against further recount ‘disruptions’

Michigan Board of State Canvassers approves 2022 election results | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

During a chaotic meeting that lasted over four hours, the state’s bipartisan elections panel rebuffed calls Monday from losing candidates not to officially certify the recent midterm election in Michigan, and the panel unanimously accepted the results. The vote by the Board of State Canvassers − made up of two Democrats and two Republicans − marks the first certification of a general election since the otherwise routine process garnered national attention two years ago, when allies of former President Donald Trump pressured GOP members not to certify the results and raised the prospect the panel might deadlock along partisan lines. But the board that year certified the election in a 3-0 vote with one GOP canvasser abstaining. During a lengthy public comment period that followed the certification vote of the recent Nov. 8 midterm, some echoed those calls from 2020 not to certify the results, accused state canvassers of committing treason, pleaded for a so-called forensic audit and said that they would pray for members of the board. “I will take prayers from anywhere,” said Republican canvasser and board chair Tony Daunt, in response to one commenter. Daunt kicked off the meeting by asking those attending to conduct themselves appropriately, but at times, attendees interrupted the proceedings with loud jeers directed at the canvassers.

Full Article: Michigan Board of State Canvassers approves 2022 election results

Michigan: Despite fears, election passes without intimidation or interference | Oralandar Brand-Williams/Bridge Michigan

After fears of Election Day “violence and disruption” in Michigan, and signs that far-right activists were mobilizing as poll workers and election challengers, officials were relieved to see that those threats didn’t materialize. There were no major reports of conflicts as of late Tuesday night. Even the polling place glitches and delays voters saw in other states were rare in Michigan. Like most cities around the state, Flint prepared for the worst and instead experienced an election that appeared — under the direction of a brand-new replacement for the city clerk — to have gone off smoothly. Inside Flint’s counting room for absentee ballots on the third floor of City Hall, there was constant scrutiny from partisan poll challengers late into the night but no disruptions. The clerk and her staff worked into early Wednesday morning, past 1 a.m., to count thousands of absentee ballots as some 10 Republican challengers and two Democratic challengers watched. The GOP challengers identified themselves as members of the Michigan Republican Party, but declined to comment further. A staff member said two ACLU attorneys were also among those watching the process.

Full Article: Despite fears, Michigan election passes without intimidation or interference | Bridge Michigan

Michigan: 2020 election upheaval continues to strain Antrim County | Mardi Link/Traverse City Record-Eagle

A federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a civil lawsuit filed against the Jan. 6 Committee by a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, who in November 2020 visited Antrim County by private jet as part of a team of political operatives seeking local election data. The phone records of Katherine Friess, of Arlington, Va., and Vail, Colo., were previously subpoenaed by the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, court records show. Friess, listed in 13th Circuit Court documents as an expert witness in a since-dismissed civil suit accusing Antrim County of voter fraud, sued the Select Committee, referencing her work as a staff attorney for former President Donald Trump. The Select Committee sought Friess’ phone, text, private message and other communication records, sent or received between Nov. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2021, a timeframe which includes dates Friess traveled to Antrim County. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on Oct. 26 recommended a dismissal motion filed July 11 by attorneys representing the Select Committee be granted, which could clear the way for the committee to access Friess’ phone records.

Full Article: 2020 election upheaval continues to strain Antrim County | Local News | record-eagle.com

Michigan Supreme Court suspends order on poll challengers | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday suspended a Michigan Court of Claims order — celebrated by Republicans — that required revisions to the instructions for election observers that monitor polling locations and absentee ballot counting rooms. The Michigan Supreme Court’s order leaves in place for the general election the same poll challenger guidelines used in the recent August primary. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and election officials raised concerns that the last-minute revisions ordered by the lower court would cause confusion and chaos at the polls and counting rooms. Former Michigan elections director Chris Thomas worried it would potentially pave the way for intimidation against election workers. Republicans had heralded the earlier lower court order as a legal victory in response to a pair of lawsuits challenging the legality of the poll challenger manual: one from the Michigan GOP and Republican National Committee and another from GOP candidates and challengers representing organizations that deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Full Article: Michigan Supreme Court suspends order on poll challengers

Michigan election workers navigate increasing controversy, scrutiny | Jared Weber/Lansing State Journal

For about 15 years, Janet Glisson has served as a precinct worker in Lansing, helping thousands of people vote on Election Day. In 2020, she coordinated the Cumberland Elementary School precinctwith her granddaughter, Abigail Wiefreich. This year, at Wiefreich’s urging, she moved behind the scenes to work with the city’s absentee ballot counting board because of concerns about safety. “Because of the (2020) election — the presidential election was so volatile — she didn’t want me to work in the precinct,” Glisson said as she compiled instruction manuals for this year’s precinct workers. “She said, ‘Seniors don’t need to be here.'” Election day is less than two weeks away, and election administrators and inspectors have been preparing: navigating several turbulent years, changing processes, fight a lack of election infrastructure, a pandemic and a right-wing movement casting doubt on election security. Officials say some Republican election deniers, continuing to push former President Donald Trump’s debunked claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, have sought to mobilize party members as election challengers and poll watchers. Some have even encouraged supporters to become election workers so they can search for evidence of what they perceive to be wrongdoing.

Full Article: Michigan election workers navigate increasing controversy, scrutiny

Michigan Election conspiracists have checklist for poll challengers: What’s on it | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

Set up hidden cameras to capture license plate numbers. If you go at night, show up armed. These aren’t battlefield directions. They’re instructions laid out as part of a strategic operation spearheaded by prominent election conspiracists seeking to keep close tabs on Michigan’s upcoming midterm election. Michigan is one of several states targeted by the America Project, an organization led by allies of former President Donald Trump to recruit citizen election monitors in ways election experts worry blurs the lines between lawful oversight and vigilantism. In a promotional video touting the America Project’s launch, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn calls the 2020 presidential election “an assault on our sacred election process.” The America Project’s website lists former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne as part of the “fearless, battle-tested team.” Byrne and Flynn participated in failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election that included an attempt to persuade Trump to order the military to seize voting machines. Two leaders from the Michigan GOP — ethnic vice chair Bernadette Smith and grassroots vice chair Marian Sheridan — appeared on panels supported by the America Project.

Full Article: Election conspiracists have checklist for Michigan poll challengers

Michigan GOP scores victory in election challenger lawsuit | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

With the midterm election just weeks away, a Michigan judge issued an order Thursday invalidating new instructions for election challengers created by the Bureau of Elections. The order from Michigan Court of Claims Judge Brock Swartzle marks a legal victory for the Michigan GOP and Republican National Committee which brought the lawsuit challenging the legality of the election challenger manual issued by the Bureau of Elections this year. Swartzle’s order bars election officials from using the manual and requires Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan elections director Jonathan Brater to rescind the manual or revise it to comply with Michigan election law. Swartzle found that some of the provisions in the manual such as a ban on the use of electronic devices at absentee counting boards were at odds with the law or failed to undergo the proper rule-making procedure with input from the public and state lawmakers.

Full Article: Michigan GOP scores victory in election challenger lawsuit

In Michigan ‘It’s just a full-throttle attack on elections and on democracy’ | Jon King/ Michigan Advance

Election deniers, the legislation they are proposing and their efforts to dismantle Michigan’s voting systems ahead of the midterm elections, are being highlighted as the top threats to democracy in Michigan. That’s from an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Defend Democracy Project, which surveyed grassroots organizers, legal analysts and academic experts to identify what they assess to be the key risks. The report, “The Three Greatest Threats to Democracy in Michigan,” describes the primary threats as being intertwined. Yet Rebecca Parks, the research director for the Defend Democracy Project, says there is also coordination among these various efforts. “We see the same people pop up again and again and again and some of the same groups,” said Parks. “For instance, the sort of floods of public records requests that have just been really inundating county officials asking for sort of nonsensical records or just thousands and thousands and thousands of records from the 2020 elections that we’re seeing all across the country.”

Full Article: ‘It’s just a full-throttle attack on elections and on democracy in Michigan’ ⋆ Michigan Advance

Michigan: Republican clerk could be charged in voting-system breach | Nathan Layne/Reuters

A Michigan township official who promotes false conspiracy theories of a rigged 2020 election could face criminal charges related to two voting-system security breaches, according to previously unreported records and legal experts. A state police detective recommended that the Michigan attorney general consider unspecified charges amid a months-long probe into one breach related to the Republican clerk’s handling of a vote tabulator, according to a June email from the detective to state and local officials. Reuters obtained the email through a public-records request. The clerk, Stephanie Scott, oversaw voting in rural Adams Township until the state last year revoked her authority over elections. Scott has publicly embraced baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged against former U.S. President Donald Trump and has posted online about the QAnon conspiracy theory. In a second breach of the township’s voting system, the clerk gave a file containing confidential voter data to an information-technology expert who is a suspect in other alleged Michigan election-security violations. The expert, Benjamin Cotton, worked with voter-fraud conspiracists seeking unauthorized access to election systems in other states, according to court records reviewed by Reuters. The incident has not been previously reported.

Full Article: Republican clerk could be charged in Michigan voting-system breach | Reuters

Michigan election worker charged with tampering with voting equipment | Nathan Layne/Reuters

An election worker in a western Michigan town has been charged with two felonies after allegedly inserting a flash drive into a computer containing confidential voter registration data during an election in August, local officials said on Wednesday. At the Aug. 2 primary, an election worker was seen inserting a USB drive into the computer used to administer the election at a precinct in Gaines Township in Kent County, according to a statement by county clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons. The incident highlights the so-called “insider threat” risk that has increasingly worried election officials, especially in battleground states like Michigan where falsehoods about systemic voter fraud in the 2020 election have spread most widely. “This incident is extremely egregious and incredibly alarming. Not only is it a violation of Michigan law, but it is a violation of public trust and of the oath all election workers are required to take,” Lyons said in the statement.

Full Article: Michigan election worker charged with tampering with voting equipment | Reuters

Michigan prosecutor: ‘Additional investigation’ needed on DePerno election case | Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

The special prosecutor appointed to review broad allegations of possible criminal conduct by the Republican candidate for Michigan attorney general and eight others who sought to undermine the results of the 2020 election says more investigative work is needed before a decision can be made on bringing charges. In a statement, Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson declined to say if his decision on whether to criminally charge GOP attorney general hopeful Matthew DePerno or others allegedly involved in the election-related scheme would come before or after the Nov. 8 general election. “As prosecutor I have an ethical obligation to ensure that all necessary evidence and information is obtained and reviewed so that a determination of criminal charges can be made.  In order to meet that obligation, I have determined that additional investigative work needs to be done and I am working with investigators on those issues,” Hilson said in an email Wednesday morning. “I am acting as expeditiously as possible, but due to this ethical obligation, I cannot say at this time when any decisions would be made.”

Full Article: Michigan prosecutor: ‘Additional investigation’ needed on DePerno case

Michigan is trying to ensure security of its voting systems after tabulator breaches | Oralandar Brand-Williams/Votebeat

As the midterms approach, the Michigan secretary of state’s office has found itself repeatedly defending the state’s election system against local clerks. Experts say the clearest vulnerability facing Michigan are such insider threats, which the secretary of state has little ability to proactively prevent. The problem became most evident after a handful of local clerks last year allegedly gave people unauthorized access to election equipment, forcing the secretary of state’s staff to manage the fallout. Now at least one of those clerks is making false claims about the state’s voting machines and hinting she may conduct the election without them. Michigan is among the closest watched midterm battlegrounds, and the allegations that clerks in Barry County’s Irving Township, Missaukee County’s Lake Township, and Roscommon County, and a supervisor in Roscommon’s Richfield Township, allowed pro-Trump actors to have unauthorized access to tabulators last year sent shockwaves through the state. Experts and state officials agree that there has been no lasting damage to the state’s voting systems, because the protective measures in place worked. But Michigan’s decentralized election administration means the first line of defense in election security are the 1,609 county, municipal and township clerks, who are responsible for overseeing and protecting equipment and following the law — or not. The widely disseminated responsibilities make it difficult for the state to ensure that the rules are consistently followed. While there is no indication that other clerks have allowed unauthorized access and several interviewed for this story vowed to keep the machines secure, elections security consultant Ryan Macias said insiders willingly providing access remains “the biggest risk to security.”

Full Article: Michigan tabulator breaches: How security works when clerks follow rules – Votebeat Michigan – Nonpartisan local reporting on elections and voting

Michigan sheriff: Clerks can hand over tabulators. Experts: He’s wrong | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf contended in an interview this week that local clerks have the “authority” to hand over voting equipment to outside groups, a reading of Michigan election law that experts say is incorrect and problematic. Leaf was one of nine individuals whom Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office referenced in a petition for a special prosecutor over an alleged conspiracy to improperly obtain tabulators amid a push by supporters of former President Donald Trump to investigate the 2020 presidential election. Leaf’s department had launched a probe into unproven claims of election fraud in his west Michigan county, where Trump won 65% of the vote. Irving Township Clerk Sharon Olson indicated that she had been asked by Leaf to cooperate with the investigation and she later turned over a tabulator to a third party, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The Irving Township tabulator ended up being one of five that were taken to rental properties in Oakland County, where self-described cybersecurity experts “broke into” them and “performed ‘tests'” on them, the Attorney General’s Office alleged. Asked at an event Tuesday if he encouraged Olson to hand over her tabulator, Leaf replied, “No. That didn’t happen.” But moments later, he added, “You understand that the clerk has that authority, right? … Yeah. Even to a third party. That’s in the election law.” However, Jake Rollow, spokesman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, said local clerks can give their equipment to only authorized vendors, contractors and voting system test laboratories.

Full Article: Michigan sheriff: Clerks can hand over tabulators. Experts: He’s wrong

Michigan secretary of state says officials worried about ‘violence and disruption’ on Election Day | Zach Schonfeld/The Hill

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) on Sunday said election officials nationwide are most worried about “violence and disruption” as the midterm elections approach. “Violence and disruption on Election Day, first and foremost, and in the days surrounding the election,” Benson told CBS “Face the Nation” chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett when asked about her biggest concern. “Secondly, there’s a concern about the ongoing spread of misinformation, which, of course fuels the potential for additional threats, harassment and even violence on Election Day,” Benson added. Despite her worries, Benson noted that election officials have been working for roughly two years to protect the integrity of the election process, an effort she described as a success “at every turn,” vowing to seek accountability for anyone who attempts to interfere with November’s midterm contests. “Democracy prevailed in 2020,” she told Garrett. “There have been, in Michigan and in other states, no significant attempts apart from the tragedy in our Capitol on Jan. 6 to really see disruption of the polling places on Election Day itself.”

Full Article: Michigan secretary of state says officials worried about ‘violence and disruption’ on Election Day | The Hill

Michigan police investigating how voting machine wound up for sale online | Donie O’Sullivan, Curt Devine and Kimberly Berryman/CNN

Authorities in Michigan are investigating how a missing voting machine from the state wound up for sale on eBay last month for $1,200. The machine was purchased by a cybersecurity expert in Connecticut who alerted Michigan authorities and is now waiting for law enforcement to pick up the device. CNN determined the machine was dropped off at a Goodwill store in Northern Michigan, before being sold last month on eBay by a man in Ohio. In an interview with CNN, the Ohio man said he purchased the machine online at Goodwill for $7.99 before auctioning it on eBay for $1,200. Election machines are part of the United States’ critical infrastructure and are supposed to be kept under lock and key. It’s an issue that has become increasingly important in recent years as people have sought to gain unauthorized access to election systems in a futile attempt to prove the false notion that the 2020 election was stolen. News of the sold machine comes as authorities in Michigan, Colorado and Georgia are probing apparent efforts to gain unauthorized access to voting machines or obtain data from them following the 2020 election.

Full Article: Police investigating how Michigan voting machine wound up for sale online – CNNPolitics

Michigan sheriff sought to seize multiple voting machines, records show | By Peter Eisler and Nathan Layne/Reuters

A sheriff in Barry County, Michigan, already under state investigation for alleged involvement in an illegal breach of a vote-counting machine, sought warrants in July to seize other machines in an effort to prove former President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, documents reviewed by Reuters showed. The proposed warrants sought authorization to seize vote tabulators and various election records from the offices of the Barry County and Woodland Township clerks, the documents showed. The two jurisdictions have not been previously identified as targets in the sheriff’s investigation into suspicions that machines in the county were rigged to siphon votes from Trump. The warrants were submitted in July to the office of Barry County Prosecuting Attorney Julie Nakfoor Pratt, a Republican, who told Reuters she declined to endorse them because she felt the sheriff lacked sufficient evidence to support his suspicions that the machines were rigged. Reuters obtained copies of the documents under a Freedom of Information request filed with the prosecutor’s office. The requests suggest Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, a Republican, was seeking to broaden his investigation of alleged election fraud even as he faced investigation from the state attorney general’s office.

Full Article: Michigan sheriff sought to seize multiple voting machines, records show | Reuters