Michigan State Police investigating voting equipment sold on eBay

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Michigan State Police are investigating how a piece of election equipment was sold on eBay after being donated to a Goodwill Industries thrift store in Cadillac.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office said in a statement that someone tried to sell a voter assist terminal, a device used to help voters with disabilities mark their ballots.

An Uber driver in Ohio bought the Dominion voting machine in an online auction for $7.99 from Goodwill Industries after the machine was dropped off at Goodwill's thrift store in Cadillac, CNN reported Wednesday.

The Ohio man then turned around and sold the machine for $1,200 to a cyber security expert in Connecticut, who alerted election officials in Michigan, CNN reported.

"While our elections remain secure and safe, we take seriously all violations of election law and will be working with relevant authorities to ensure there are consequences for those who break the law," Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Lt. Derrick Carroll, a Michigan State Police spokesman in northern Michigan, confirmed Thursday to The Detroit News that an investigation is ongoing. But he declined to provide other details.

The Cadillac News reported Thursday that the piece of equipment was from a township in Wexford County.

Wexford County Clerk Alaina Nyman told the newspaper a voting machine had gone missing before the Aug. 2 primary.  The piece of equipment "found its way for sale online," Nyman told the paper.

In a statement, Nyman confirmed the investigation and said her office is "working diligently with the Michigan State Police to ensure this matter is handled accordingly."

"Please know that election security in Wexford County has been, and will continue to be, my top priority," Nyman said.

For months, Michigan authorities have been investigating various efforts by individuals to gain access to election technology in the battleground state as part of a push by supporters of former President Donald Trump to advance unproven claims of voter fraud.

Following a months-long probe, Attorney General Dana Nessel's office sought the appointment of a special prosecutor on Aug. 5 to consider an array of potential criminal charges against nine individuals, including Republican attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, state Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, and Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.

Nessel's office said the group engaged in a "conspiracy" to gain improper access to voting machines, to take the tabulators to hotels or rental properties in Oakland County, to break into the machines and to perform "tests" on the equipment, according to the letter.

DePerno has denied he did anything wrong.