A Michigan judge has ordered Antrim County election officials to preserve all election materials and refrain from operating any of the county’s Dominion Voting Systems machines ahead of a forensic audit by the Trump campaign.
Circuit Judge Kevin Eisenheimer issued the order on Friday after a county resident challenged the election results based off a mishap that awarded Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden thousands of illegitimate votes. The challenge also cited a slim margin on a vote over a local marijuana ordinance, according to The Detroit News.
Antrim County election officials must “maintain, preserve and protect all records in its possession used to tabulate votes in Antrim County, to not turn on the Dominion tabulator in its possession and to not connect the Dominion tabulator in its possession to the internet,” the court order says.
Eisenheimer also granted a request from the resident, William Bailey, to conduct a forensic exam of the county’s voting machines and other hardware and software involved in the voting and tabulating process. Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said that a team would conduct a forensic audit of the machines on Sunday.
“A judge actually granted our team access to 22 of the Dominion voting machines for us to conduct a forensic audit. So if you remember this is the county that had the switch of 6,000 votes from President Trump to Joe Biden and that was an unexplained and so-called glitch, and so our team is going to go in this morning at about 8:30 and will be there about eight hours to conduct that forensic examination and we will have the results in about 48 hours, and that will tell us a lot about these machines,” Ellis claimed on Fox News.
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) December 6, 2020
A spokesman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the judge’s intentions with the order are a mystery, according to The Detroit News.
“However, what we know, and has been previously explained on numerous occasions, is that a human error by the Antrim County Clerk prompted results to be reported incorrectly,” spokesman Jake Rollow said. “Reporting errors are common, have no impact on tabulation, and are always caught and corrected in the county canvass if not before, as was the case in Antrim County.”
Eisenheimer never mentioned the technical glitch in his Friday order, instead focusing on the marijuana retailer ordinance which passed by one vote after a recount on Nov. 6. The Detroit Free Press underscores that the preliminary order requiring Antrim County to preserve its election records and allow forensic photos to be taken from the 22 tabulators “is not related to the disputed presidential contest.”
Antrim County election officials discovered that “human error” flipped 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden after Bailey alerted them to some inconsistencies in the county’s reporting of the vote. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office said that “the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.”
“The erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim county was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County Clerk,” the state said. “The equipment and software did not malfunction and all ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.”
This article has been expanded and revised for clarity.