Woman accused of trying to 'clone' voting data from Michigan tabulator pleads guilty

A northern Michigan woman has pleaded no contest in an effort to tamper with a voting ballot tabulator.

In exchange for her plea, a prosecutor dropped felony charges of common law fraud and unauthorized access of a computer against Tera Jackson, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported Wednesday.

Jackson’s plea Tuesday was to misdemeanor creating a disturbance. She also agreed to having her sentence delayed and a possible expungement of her conviction in the case.

"My understanding is, that goes away," Jackson told the judge, adding that she would continue her life "as I always have, not being a criminal."

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A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is used as such at sentencing.

Jackson of Petoskey was arrested in October, more than eight months after witnesses said she organized a Jan. 14, 2021 effort to "clone" or back-up voting data from Cross Village Township’s ballot tabulator, the newspaper reported.

Cross Village Township is northeast of Traverse City.

As part of the scheme, three men — including a township trustee — attempted to access a ballot tabulator at township offices, according to a sheriff’s report.

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One of the men was armed with a gun and wore a bulletproof vest.

Township Clerk Diana Keller said no data was stored on the tabulator and that the machine only counts ballots.

The township’s $5,000 tabulator was damaged, Keller said Tuesday.