Michigan investigates missing voter assistance device

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LANSING, Michigan — Authorities in Michigan are investigating how equipment that helps voters with disabilities mark a ballot was listed for sale online.

The machine was purchased by an election security expert, who then contacted the state to report the problem. Michigan officials said the voter assistance terminal in question does not tally vote totals.

Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the state’s elections “remain safe and secure.”

“We take all violations of election law seriously and will work with the appropriate authorities to ensure there are consequences for those who break the law,” Benson said in a statement Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Benson did not immediately respond to a request for more information on Friday.

County Wexford officials told The Cadillac News the machine went missing some time before the August primary, possibly after local election officials were told to hand over all their equipment to the county for an update routine.

Wexford County Clerk Alaina Nyman said Thursday election security remains her top priority and her office is cooperating with the Michigan State Police investigation.

She did not immediately return a message left in her office on Friday afternoon.

Colfax Township Clerk Becky Stoddard told the newspaper that the equipment was a voter assistance tablet belonging to her township. She said the situation has led the township to reevaluate how it stores and transports voting materials.

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