Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Requests Investigation of Possible Unauthorized Access to Voting Equipment

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Thursday asked the Attorney General and Michigan State Police to investigate reports her office received this week that an un-named third party was allowed to access vote tabulator components and technology in Roscommon County.

Officials say unauthorized access to machines is a breach of election security protocols, and may have exposed the machines to vulnerabilities that render them unusable in future elections.

“Protecting the integrity and security of our elections, especially from those who use lies and misinformation to deceive Michigan voters, is a critical component of defending democracy in this moment,” said Benson. “Michigan law is clear about the security threats that emerge when anyone gains unauthorized access to our election machines or technology, and I will have no tolerance for those who seek to illegally tamper with our voting equipment.”

Officials say at least one un-named third party allegedly gained access to tabulation machines and data drives used in Richfield Township and Roscommon County, which they say would require the equipment to be replaced at taxpayer expense.

They say contracts with voting system vendors and state law restrict access to voting equipment to qualified personnel, including MCL 168. 932 (b), which states that it is a felony to, “obtain undue possession of [a] … voting machine,” as well as, “[a] person shall not aid or abet in any prohibited by this subdivision.”

Officials say in addition to requesting law enforcement investigation, Secretary Benson has also sent a letter to all of Michigan’s 1,603 county, city and township clerks, thanking them for their efforts to protect election security, and providing guidance on how to proceed if they become aware of any incident where an unauthorized third party has attempted to gain or has been given improper access to voting equipment.

This comes after a third party access the Dominion vote tabulators in Antrim County in Dec. 2020 following a court order, and then used the data it found to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud.

Officials say the report was thoroughly debunked by many election experts, but not before it was cited as the reason for the federal government to seize tabulation machines in a draft executive order of former President Donald Trump.

They say the report also claimed to include a scan from an Election Systems and Software Tabulator, the vendor that provides tabulators to all jurisdictions in Roscommon County.