Michigan clerk who doubts election results faces recall

May 1, 2023, 10:43 AM

DETROIT (AP) — A small-town clerk accused of improperly handling voting equipment after casting doubt on President Joe Biden’s election victory faces a recall election Tuesday in one of Michigan’s most conservative counties.

Stephanie Scott ran unopposed as a Republican first-time candidate when she was chosen in the same November 2020 election to handle the voting in Hillsdale County’s Adams Township, where about 2,200 people live along rural roads dotted with signs supporting Donald Trump.

The ticket of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received nearly 76% of the vote in the reliably Republican community, but Scott joined a crew of GOP elections officials around the nation who have questioned the accuracy of U.S. voting systems. Some of those now running afoul of state election laws and rules continue to make unsupported claims of voting machine tampering and voter fraud as the reason for Trump’s defeat.

When it came time to prepare for her township’s November 2021 election, Scott said she had accuracy concerns and had considered paper ballots and a hand count before settling on using the same system. “Quite frankly, I was coming to a moral quandary of even running this election,” Scott told The Detroit News.

The state intervened after Scott allegedly refused to allow a contractor to perform preventive maintenance and failed to conduct accuracy tests, among other issues. She was stripped of her duties in October 2021.

And when the Hillsdale County clerk’s office seized by Michigan State Police after Scott allegedly refused to turn it over.

The tablet “is the computer that contains software, an operating system, and some mirrored election data from previous elections,” said Abe Dane, Hillsdale County’s chief deputy clerk.

Scott told The Detroit News that she didn’t trust other officials to maintain custody of the data. Michigan State Police started an investigation to determine if any tampering had been done, but no criminal charges were filed. A group of voters then circulated petitions, prompting the recall election.

Despite several attempts by The Associated Press, she and her attorney did not answer questions or provide comment for this story.

Scott is among a number of elections officials around the country accused of mishandling voting equipment in their zeal to uncover fraud.

“There’s a bunch of true believers out there who have taken it upon themselves to tamper with counting machines,” said Jonathan Hanson, an elections expert at the Gerald R. Ford School of Policy at the University of Michigan. “Somehow you can’t convince people that this is not the big problem they’ve been led to believe.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month held its Republican-majority Fulton County in contempt over commissioners allowing a third party to copy voting-machine data in a failed effort to find fraud that could reverse Trump’s defeat in the state.

Former Mesa County, Colorado, clerk Tina Peters faces seven felony charges for allegedly allowing a copy of a hard drive to be made while searching for fraud during a 2021 update of election equipment. She has pleaded not guilty and contends the charges are politically motivated.

In Georgia, the county elections director and a member of the board of elections were present when efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his narrow election loss in the state.

In Michigan, a special prosecutor is reviewing whether to criminally charge failed state attorney general candidate Matthew DePerno who has been accused of being one of the “prime instigators” of a plan to improperly access voting machines and use them to dispute the 2020 results.

In Scott’s case, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the preventive maintenance she didn’t allow is necessary to ensure tabulators and voter assist terminals are functioning properly. Benson also said the required certifications of Public Accuracy Testing of voting machines — that Scott was “unwilling to complete” — confirms vote counting machines are accurate and is done transparently.

“The big picture is that we are at a moment in our political history where polarization of politics has become really severe,” Hanson said. “It’s made people very distrustful of the outcome of elections. It’s gotten to the point where, I think, a lot of people genuinely don’t understand when their political views on subjects are in the minority and don’t really believe it when their candidates lose in an election.”

The Hillsdale County clerk’s office is running Tuesday’s recall, in which Scott and one of her supporters, Township Supervisor Mark Nichols, face opposing candidates.

Suzy Roberts, running against Scott, said “the lying has to stop.”

“Somehow, nationwide, we have to make lying wrong,” said Roberts, 69, who identifies as an independent. “If you got caught in the lie there was a feeling of shame. It has to be wrong again.”

United States News

Associated Press

Idaho group says it is exploring a ballot initiative for abortion rights and reproductive care

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new Idaho organization says it will ask voters to restore abortion access and other reproductive health care rights in the state after lawmakers let a second legislative session end without modifying strict abortion bans that have been blamed for a recent exodus of health care providers. “We have not been […]

12 minutes ago

Associated Press

An Alabama prison warden is arrested on drug charges

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The warden of an Alabama prison was arrested Friday on drug charges, officials with the state prison system confirmed. Chadwick Crabtree, the warden at Limestone Correctional Facility, was charged with the manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South Africa man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women for allegedly lying on his naturalization application for saying he had neither killed nor hurt anyone. Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted earlier this year in the deaths of the two […]

31 minutes ago

Associated Press

10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old boy has confessed to an unsolved killing in Texas, telling investigators that he shot a man he did not know while the victim slept, authorities said Friday. The boy, who was just shy of his eighth birthday when the man was shot two years ago, has been evaluated at […]

35 minutes ago

Associated Press

Man who won primary election while charged with murder convicted on lesser charge

LEBANON, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana man who won a primary election for a township board position while charged with killing his estranged wife has been found guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. A Boone County jury convicted Andrew Wilhoite, 41, of Lebanon on Thursday, local news outlets reported. Wilhoite was charged […]

47 minutes ago

Associated Press

Ex-Philadelphia police officer pleads guilty in shooting death of 12-year-old boy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A fired Philadelphia police officer pleaded guilty Friday to murder in the shooting of a fleeing 12-year-old boy, who prosecutors have said was on the ground and unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot. Edsaul Mendoza also pleaded guilty to possession of an instrument of crime as part of a plea […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Michigan clerk who doubts election results faces recall