This week’s indictments of three Michigan allies of former President Donald Trump on claims of illegally seizing voting machines demonstrate that the rules and laws governing the security of Michigan’s election systems worked, say experts and local clerks, and it sends a message that voting systems must be kept closely protected.
Matthew DePerno, a lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general last year, and former state Rep. Daire Rendon, both Republicans, were indicted and arraigned Tuesday in Oakland County Circuit Court. Lawyer Stefanie Lambert Junttila was arraigned Thursday. All were charged in connection with an alleged plot to gain possession of voting machines used in the 2020 election and examine them in a failed attempt to prove the machines were rigged to deliver a fraudulent victory for President Joe Biden.
In an investigation last year, state authorities said DePerno, Rendon, and Lambert Junttila “orchestrated” the effort to examine ballot tabulators from locations in three northern Michigan counties beginning around January 2021. DePerno and others then allegedly took five tabulators to hotels and rental homes in Oakland County, broke into the machines, and ran tests on them.
Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson, the special prosecutor in the case, announced Thursday he would not charge anyone else. At one point the year-long investigation had identified at least nine people involved in the effort, including a county sheriff and a group of technology contractors. Some of those participants, Hilson wrote, had been “deceived” into believing their actions were lawful.