Republican election clerks hit with lawsuits, recall votes for actions in 2020 presidential race

"Our current laws don't allow those responsible for running elections to determine if the election is properly run," Phill Kline said.

Published: July 25, 2023 11:46pm

Updated: July 26, 2023 9:03am

Republican county election clerks across the country are facing lawsuits and other consequences for their actions during the 2020 presidential elections – including what some clerks contend was their attempt only to preserve election data to prevent or expose fraud.

Stan Grot, a clerk in Michigans's Shelby Township Clerk was notified Thursday by the state Bureau of Elections that he won’t be allowed to administer elections while facing charges by the state attorney general.

Grot is one of 16 Republicans charged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for allegedly submitting false certificates following the 2020 election that claimed incumbent President Donald Trump won the state and they were the legitimate electors for the Electoral College.

Each faces eight criminal charges, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery.

Grot declined to discuss the charges but said he would follow the letter from the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

“There’s a request for me to recuse myself from elections until the issue of charges is resolved and I intend to abide by it,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

One of Grot’s primary responsibilities as township clerk is administering elections in the Detroit suburb, which has a population of nearly 80,000.

The letter Grot received, which was provided by the secretary of state’s office, says that while he is “innocent until proven guilty,” his alleged actions as a 2020 elector “undermines voter confidence in the integrity of elections.”

They aren't the only Republican clerks to face charges regarding the 2020 election.

Tina Peters, a former county clerk and recorder for Colorado's Mesa County, is being charged with seven felonies and three misdemeanors for allegedly allowing a hard drive on election equipment to be copied.

Peters has pleaded not guilty and said she was trying to preserve election documentation before software was to be changed on ballot marking machines.

As a result of the allegations, Peters was barred by a judge from overseeing the 2021 and 2022 elections in the county. She ran for Colorado secretary of state in 2022 but lost in the GOP primary.

Her trial is scheduled for October.

Another clerk, Stephanie Scott, in Michigan's Adams Township, lost a recall election in May after she was accused of mishandling voting equipment. She had allegedly refused to let a contractor conduct preventive maintenance on election machines and didn’t administer accuracy tests.

Scott said she was trying to preserve election data to prove fraud. She was stripped of her responsibilities in October 2021.

Prior to the recall election, Scott said during a town hall meeting, “Despite the slander from Secretary [of State Jocelyn] Benson, I want you to know that I've done nothing wrong.”

She also said: “I have only asked the questions that other clerks should also be asking.”

Scott did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, told Just the News on Tuesday, “Our current laws don’t allow those responsible for running elections to determine if the election is properly run.”

He argued the Help America Vote Act of 2002 allows voting equipment software to remain a "trade secret,” preventing those who oversee its use from understanding it, which he called "bad policy."

Kline also said that it should be “cause for concern when a person responsible” for running elections “is prosecuted when trying to determine if things went correctly.”

Such prosecution and pressure puts a “chill” on election officials, Kline said, as “you’ve got to agree and you can’t disagree.”

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