West Bloomfield Board Questions Aug. 7 Primary After Theft
Theft from Township Clerk's office last week called 'inexcusable' while investigation continues.
West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste and Treasurer Teri Weingarden questioned the integrity of the Aug. 7 primary after a theft of election materials last week from the Township Clerk’s office.
West Bloomfield Police Department detectives are still investigating a theft of computer cards used to tabulate votes from a locked area in Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy’s office overnight between July 10-11.
Shaughnessy herself questioned the capacity for elected officials to mar the election.
“The programming memory cards were kept in a locked room. The only access is with a township swipe badge and a master key,” Shaughnessy said.
Weingarden and Economou Ureste said that they arranged for a meeting with county elections division officials and asked Clerk Bill Bullard Jr. to verify and test equipment in an upcoming public accuracy test of voting equipment.
Shaughnessy said pre-programmed backup computer cards will be available to use: “Elections are still intact in West Bloomfield.”
Other elected officials aren’t as sure. Treasurer Teri Weingarden attacked Shaughnessy for the theft, calling it “inexcusable.”
“We keep a MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) which we use to print checks with and that MICR is stored in a locked department in the finance department to make sure it’s safe,” Weingarden said. “Why aren’t our election materials being kept in the same, secure manner? … It’s just inexcusable.”
Chief Michael Patton said Monday that detectives expect an internal theft and are interviewing those with access, current and past.
Patton added that there is a possibility that an outside law agency could be brought in to continue investigations if matters become “too politically-sensitive.” State and federal authorities were notified.
The computer cards are described as in the shape and size of playing cards and number about 25. Shaughnessy that if the cards are found or returned, they will not be used in an election.
- After support from the public in support and against it, the board voted to rescind a resolution allowing the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to conduct a mute swan population control program in West Bloomfield.
- The board voted 4-3 against a motion which would have asked Shaughnessy to produce an itemized list of election-related mailings and handouts with her name displayed on them.