News

SOS Benson asks for investigation into 'unauthorized access' of voting equipment

SOS office says no reason to believe access came prior to 2020 election
Benson.jpg
Posted at 11:46 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 23:46:36-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has asked Attorney General Dana Nessel and State Police to look into reports of a third party who was allowed “inappropriate access” to vote tabulator components and technology.

Benson’s office said the reported incident happened in Roscommon County and Richfield Township. They said this could result in equipment needing to be replaced at the expense of taxpayers.

When WXYZ asked if the incident happened after the 2020 presidential election, Benson’s office said, “We have no reason to believe the unauthorized access was gained prior to the 2020 election.”

State law and contracts with voting system vendors only allows qualified personnel access to machines. Defying that is a felony, the state said.

“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,” Benson said in a statement. “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.”

Additionally, Benson's office said she sent letters to 1,603 county, city and township clerks across the state to thank them for their work in protecting election security. She also shared information on how to handle situations of unauthorized access to voting equipment.

A similar incident happened in December 2020 when someone accessed Dominion vote tabulators in Antrim Count. The third party then used data to falsely report election fraud, the secretary of state said.

Election experts debunked that report.