Sec. Jocelyn Benson requests probe into illegal access to northern Michigan vote tabulators

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has requested law enforcement and the state attorney general to investigate reports that a third party gained unauthorized access to vote tabulator machines in a northern county.

Benson requested Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police look into a breach of election security protocols in Roscommon County, which lies just south of Grayling. 

According to a release, the breach may have exposed the machine to vulnerabilities that render them unusable in future elections.

The secretary cited reports that her office received in her request. 

"Protecting the integrity and security of our elections, especially from those who use lies and misinformation to deceive Michigan voters, is a critical component of defending democracy in this moment," said Benson. "Michigan law is clear about the security threats that emerge when anyone gains unauthorized access to our election machines or technology, and I will have no tolerance for those who seek to illegally tamper with our voting equipment."

The potential violation of election law included access to tabulation machines and data drives in Richfield Township. Only qualified individuals may access voting systems, state law says.

Concerns over security in election tabulators exploded following a user error in Antrim County when it appeared votes were counted for the wrong candidate. 

RELATED: President Trump tried to seize voting machines during 2020 election, report says

Third party access that was approved following a court order led to a report that falsely claimed election fraud, Benson said. 

Despite the report being debunked, it was cited as a reason for the federal government to seize the machines in a drafted executive order made by former president Donald Trump.