Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan State Police expands 2020 election equipment probe into Barry County

By: - May 9, 2022 9:46 am

Michigan State Police | Susan J. Demas

The Michigan State Police (MSP) has expanded its investigation into Barry County as to whether third parties gained unauthorized access to election equipment and data after the 2020 election.

Multiple media report that a raid was carried out on April 29 at the Irving Township hall where investigators seized a voting machine tabulator. While Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll confirmed for the Michigan Advance that it occurred, he said they are not discussing particular locations or how many.

Similarly, Michigan Department of Attorney General spokesperson Lynsey Mukomel declined comment on the Irving Township raid or the status of the investigation.

The investigation began in February when Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson requested that the attorney general and MSP investigate reports her office received that an unnamed third party was able to access vote tabulator components and technology in Roscommon County. 

Benson asks police, AG to investigate reports of election equipment tampering in N. Michigan

Benson said that following a court order, Dominion Voting System tabulators were accessed in Antrim County in December of 2020 by a third party with the data that was collected then used to generate a report falsely claiming election fraud. 

There are several right-wing conspiracy theories about Dominion and Antrim County in the 2020 election that former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden. Republicans in Michigan and nationwide have baselessly claimed voting equipment was “rigged” against Trump. Preliminary Antrim County election results briefly showed Biden winning due to human error, but the mistake was quickly corrected. 

In January, Benson told the House Select Committee looking into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that she believed the report, which was issued by Allied Security Operations Group and was under a court seal, had been accessed by former President Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, who then used it in the unsuccessful effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

“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,” stated a press release by Benson’s office. “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.”

When Benson made her initial request for an investigation, she also provided guidance to municipal clerks statewide on what to do if they became aware that an unauthorized third party attempted to gain or had been given improper access to voting equipment.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King is the Senior Reporter for the Michigan Advance and has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2022 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell.