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Secretary Benson requests law enforcement investigation of possible unauthorized access

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

At least one unnamed third party allegedly gained inappropriate access to tabulation machines and data drives used in Richfield Township and Roscommon County, which could require the equipment to be replaced at taxpayer expense. 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," and that "[a] person shall not aid or abet in any act prohibited by this subdivision."

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

In December of 2020 a third party also accessed the Dominion vote tabulators in Antrim County following a court order, and then used the data it found to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud. The report was thoroughly debunked by multiple 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. Another submission in the same case in Antrim County claimed to include an image from an Elections System and Software tabulator, the vendor that provides tabulators to all Roscommon County jurisdictions.

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