State removes township clerk from running election next week

October 26, 2021 GMT

HILLSDALE, Mich. (AP) — State officials have barred a township clerk in southern Michigan from running her community’s local election next week.

Stephanie Scott, the clerk in Hillsdale County’s Adams Township, failed to take steps to ensure the security of the vote, the Michigan Bureau of Elections said.

The county instead will supervise the election in the township.

The state said Scott did not allow a contractor to perform preventative maintenance on voting equipment and did not conduct accuracy tests, among other issues.

“Your past statements, detailed in prior letters, indicate that you are unwilling to fulfill your responsibilities as clerk, and you have failed to confirm that you will fulfill them in response to recent correspondence,” state elections director Jonathan Brater said in a letter Monday.

Scott, a Republican, denied being negligent but said she had concerns about the equipment. She told The Detroit News that she had considered paper ballots and a hand count but settled on tabulators.

“Quite frankly, I was coming to a moral quandary of even running this election,” Scott said.

At least two other clerks in Michigan communities have been sidelined in the Nov. 2 election. Sherikia Hawkins is accused of forging records after Oakland County officials raised questions about how the city accounted for absentee ballots in 2018. She is awaiting trial.

In Livingston County’s Genoa Township, Polly Skolarus is facing a misdemeanor charge. The state said absentee ballots in the 2020 fall election were placed in a canvas bag instead of a designated box.