Advance Notice: Briefs

GOP Macomb Co. clerk announces ‘forensic audit’ of election server

By: - October 6, 2021 1:52 pm

Macomb County clerk’s office | Susan J. Demas

In the next few weeks, election servers in Macomb County will begin to undergo a “forensic audit” process initiated by the Republican county clerk, although there isn’t evidence that such a security measure is necessary.

Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini, a former state House member, announced the plan Tuesday, saying that he hopes the audit will “restore the confidence of our election processes in Macomb County.”

Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini

More than 250 election audits have already been conducted in Michigan by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and local election clerks. Each uncovered no evidence of fraud or election security issues.

Since former President Donald Trump lost Michigan and the presidency to now-President Joe Biden in 2020, many Republicans — including some lawmakers — have pushed unfounded claims and conspiracy theories about Michigan’s election systems being unsafe.

Those theories are usually used to support the false claim that Trump did not actually lose to Biden. The current Democratic president beat Trump in Michigan by over 154,000 votes.

Trump won Macomb County 53% to 45% in November 2020, according to official returns. Forlini won election for the first time in November defeating Democratic incumbent Fred Miller, 51% to 49%.

But Forlini told the Associated Press that the audit is not a look back at 2020 or an attempt to overturn election results, but rather a proactive step toward strengthened security for future elections.

The Bureau of Elections does allow accredited contractors to review its election systems.

Forlini said the work, which will be done by the Alabama-based contractor Pro V&V, will result in a “complete forensic image” of the server and hard drive to the tune of roughly $16,000. The job is expected to be complete before November elections.

Republicans in Arizona conducted a so-called “audit” that actually found Biden beat Trump by more votes, as the Arizona Mirror reported. GOP legislation has been introduced for similar actions in Michigan and other states.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).