Lansing clerk responds to accusations of unlocked ballot boxes

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope held a news conference Wednesday morning, responding to GOP allegations that ballot drop boxes were left unlocked in the city.

According to a press release from the Michigan Republican Party, the video below was taken two weeks ago. It shows an individual walking up to an unlocked ballot drop box outside the Foster Community Center in Lansing and opening it.

Swope tells 6 News that was “before ballots were sent out” and the envelope seen inside the box “was not an actual ballot.”

Republicans also made accusations about a second video of an election worker struggling to close and secure an election dropbox properly.

Swope responded by saying, “she is an official election worker” and the video doesn’t show the box wasn’t secure when she was finished.

Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox issued the following statement when making the accusation:

“I am outraged at the complete negligence shown by the Lansing City Clerk’s office and Jocelyn Benson. This is evidence that our election system has potentially been compromised.”

“I am calling on Secretary Benson to launch a full investigation into this incident, to determine if any ballots were stolen or tampered with, and to ensure this never happens again. I stand with President Trump in his fight for the free, fair election Michiganders, and all Americans, deserve.”

Laura Cox, Michigan Republican Party Chairman

The Secretary of State office issued this statement in response:

“Ballot drop boxes have been securely locked since ballots were available. The Michigan Republican Party’s press release states that their video was shot two weeks ago (September 23), before absentee ballots were even mailed to voters, and the envelope in the video is clearly not a ballot envelope. The claim there were ‘ballots inside’ is easily disproven by their own video. By sharing blatantly false statements in the press release, they are irresponsibly spreading misinformation likely intended to suppress voting among Michigan citizens. We have referred this matter to the Attorney General for investigation as election misinformation.”

Jake Rollow, Michigan Department of State spokesperson

Election security has been at the forefront of the November election, with President Donald Trump questioning methods across the country.

A record number of Michigan residents have decided to vote by mail in this year’s presidential election.