Michigan State Police search Adams Township Hall after election equipment goes missing

Michigan State Police executed a search warrant at Adams Township Hall on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021
Posted at 4:16 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 16:16:18-04

JACKSON, Mich. — Michigan State Police executed a search warrant Friday on Hillsdale County’s Adams Township Hall, removing a piece of voting equipment called a tabulator.

State police had launched an investigation Thursday after election equipment went missing. Stephanie Scott, the Adams Township clerk, was removed from election responsibilities by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Monday.

State officials said Scott failed to comply with legal requirements for equipment maintenance to ensure the safety and security of upcoming election. They said they repeatedly warned Scott and township officials to comply with election law, according to state documents.

“The Adams Township clerk did not allow preventative maintenance on voting equipment, a necessary safeguard to ensure tabulators and voter assist terminals used by voters with disabilities are functioning properly on Election Day," Benson's office said in a news release. "She also stated that she was unwilling to complete required certifications of Public Accuracy Testing of voting machines - which confirms vote counting machines are accurate and is done transparently with public viewing allowed to affirm faith in their performance. The clerk also said she may try to conduct future elections without the certified voting equipment selected by Hillsdale County. Following multiple letters from the Bureau of Elections, she refused to confirm that she would fulfill her legal requirements.”

Adams Township Supervisor Mark Nichols said he believes there is “miscommunication” between township and the Secretary of State's Office.

He said they weren’t given enough time and feel the state overstepped their bounds.

Hillsdale County Clerk Marney Kast’s office will oversee the election in Adams Township on Nov. 2. Scott will remain as clerk.

Kast said they were directed by Jonathan Brater, director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, to run the upcoming election. They picked up the tabulator, touch writer, electronic pollbook and “all of the rest of the items needed to run the election.”

In preparing for the public accuracy test, Hillsdale County Deputy Chief Abe Dane discovered the tabulator was locked but the touch writer was not.

“When he opened up the locked tabulator, the tablet was gone. Abe emailed Clerk Scott to have the tablet returned by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. When I stopped at the township hall, Treasurer [Patricia] Williams allowed me to see if the tablet was there which it was not,” Kast said.

According to Kast, on Wednesday at 6 p.m., Abe was able to conduct a successful public accuracy test.

“The supervisor and treasurer along with the clerk, which in this case Abe was appointed, make up the Election Commission that are a part of the test. There were approximately 30 people in attendance. The public meeting lasted until 8 p.m. Abe is continuing to process absent voters who are requesting ballots and will be available at Adams Township from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to register voters and continue processing AV’s.”

Scott declined to comment.