The suspicious activity was so alarming that this month that Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel requested a special prosecutor begin investigating the group identified in the conspiracy.
A clerk not far from Rutland Charter Township felt pressured by investigators to hand over two voting machines. Three clerks in two other Michigan counties also turned over machines.
A petition filed by Nessel says the machines were taken to hotel rooms and AirBnBs, where four men “broke into” the machines and performed “tests” on them, the Post reports. One of the four men was allegedly Nessel’s Republican rival, Matthew DePerno.
The machines can no longer be used after they’ve been tampered with.
Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser at the nonprofit Democracy Fund who works with election officials nationwide, says that “it seemed far-fetched that election networks could be exposed” as they were in Michigan, but, “unfortunately, we have a number of instances in the last year or so where this sort of thing has happened around the country. … It is deeply troubling.”
In an interview with the Post, Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan secretary of state, explains that it is illegal to “twist the arm of election officials to get them to turn over secure information” and calls for law enforcement to “not just to hold accountable those who have been trying to interfere with the process, but to look at the connectivity to see if there is a broader connection, not just in our state, but beyond Michigan to Georgia and Ohio and other states where you see this happening.”
The issue of voting machine breaches has become so widespread that Friday, the Brennan Center released a statement advising election officials on how to handle election deniers they may confront. The statement outlines the steps local election officials can take to prevent unauthorized access to machines.
Lawrence Norden, director of elections and government for the Brennan Center, tells the Post, “It is super important for election officials to know these breaches of election security are occurring and that there have been swift and strong reactions to it … We want to be sure local election officials know they have an obligation to detect and quickly take remedial action if a breach occurs.”
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