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AG Nessel Announces Referral of Tabulator Investigation

LANSING — An ongoing investigation into unauthorized access of vote tabulators has been referred for assignment to a special prosecutor, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.

On February 10, 2022, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent a request to the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan State Police to investigate third party access to vote tabulators, components and technology in Lake Township, Irving Township, Richfield Township and Roscommon County.  A potential conflict in the case was identified and as such, the Department of Attorney General has concluded its involvement in the investigation and a petition has been submitted to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council for the appointment of a Special Prosecuting Attorney.

As part of the conclusion of its involvement in the investigation, the Department provided Secretary Benson with an overview of its findings regarding unauthorized access of tabulators.  The Michigan Secretary of State has a legal obligation to advise and direct local election officials as to the proper methods of conducting elections, as well as a role with respect to the supervision and administration of election laws.  As such it was necessary to provide Secretary Benson with an overview of the factual findings of the investigation related to election administrators and election equipment.

The overview notes that, “…after the 2020 election, a group of individuals gained unauthorized access and compromised tabulators from the following clerk’s offices: the Roscommon County Clerk, the Richfield Township Clerk, the Lake Township Clerk, and the Irving Township Clerk.  All unauthorized access occurred between the dates of March 11, 2021, and late June of 2021.  All impacted tabulators have been seized as evidence as part of our investigation and decommissioned from use in any future elections.”  Additionally, the overview states the Department of Attorney General does, “…not believe these actions impair the integrity of the recent August 2nd primary election.”

While the Department has concluded its involvement in the investigation, neither Attorney General Dana Nessel nor the Department of Attorney General can comment on the case as it is still an open investigation.  The petition for appointment of a Special Prosecuting Attorney and the overview provided to the Secretary of State are being publicly released as both documents would be made available under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Furthermore, the attorneys at the Department of Attorney General are bound by professional ethical obligations.  Specifically, the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.3 (a) requires, “A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a significant violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer shall inform the Attorney Grievance Commission.”  As such, the Department of Attorney General has filed requests for investigation with the Attorney Grievance Commission based on information uncovered during the tabulator investigation.