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Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Attempt to sell northern Michigan voting equipment under investigation

Jocelyn Benson
"We take seriously all violations of election law and will be working with relevant authorities to assure there are consequences for those who break the law," Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Thursday. (Bridge file photo)
  • Officials are investigating allegations of 'an illegal attempt to sell' a piece of voter equipment in northern Michigan
  • The equipment, a voter assist terminal, did not contain election data
  • Michigan State Police confirmed an investigation is underway, declined to provide further details

Michigan officials are investigating allegations that someone illegally put a piece of Wexford County voting equipment up for sale. 

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Thursday that the department is working with police to look into allegations of “an illegal attempt to sell a voter assist terminal.”

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Voter assist terminals typically help voters with disabilities mark their ballots in polling places. They are not used to tabulate votes, according to the Secretary of State’s office. 

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"While our elections remain secure and safe, we take seriously all violations of election law and will be working with relevant authorities to assure there are consequences for those who break the law," Benson said in a statement. 

The equipment in question was from Colfax Township, a small municipality north of Cadillac, Township Clerk Becky Stoddard confirmed to Bridge Michigan Thursday. 

Stoddard said the equipment is used infrequently and does not contain election data. To her recollection, the township did not use the equipment in 2020.

“That’s the main thing I want to stress. There’s no data on it,” she said. 

Stoddard directed further inquiries to the Michigan State Police. 

Lt. Derrick Carroll, public information officer for the Michigan State Police Seventh District, confirmed law enforcement is investigating the missing piece of equipment but declined to provide additional details.

According to The Cadillac News, the voter assist terminal went missing sometime after the local government turned voting equipment over to the county in March for updates. Its absence was noticed before the August primary. 

News of the Wexford County investigation comes amid ongoing probes of efforts by supporters of former President Donald Trump to access local election equipment.

Nine individuals, including Republican attorney general candidate Matthew DePerno, fellow attorney Stefanie Lambert Juntilla and state Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, were referred to a special prosecutor by Attorney General Dana Nessel following an investigation into unauthorized voting-tabulator tampering in three jurisdictions, including Irving Township. 

Nessel's office claims DePerno and others involved “gained unauthorized access and compromised tabulators,” a potential felony. DePerno has denied he did anything illegal and suggested the investigation was politically motivated.

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