Genoa Township, Mich. (WHMI) — A Genoa Township clerk is facing an election charge for failing to perform her clerical duties during the November 3 election.
The single misdemeanor charge was brought by the Livingston County Prosecutor’s office after Michigan State Police launched an investigation.
An election charge has been filed against longtime Genoa Township Clerk Polly Skolarus.
The charge carries a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail and/or $500 fine.
Public Information Officer Lt. Brian Oleksyk told WHMI that MSP conducted a criminal investigation involving the handling of ballots at the Genoa Township Clerk’s office.
The election allegations were publicized during Monday night’s virtual board meeting after Trustee Jean Ledford made a motion to withhold any pay increases for Skolarus for the remainder of her term or the date of her resignation.
It was approved 5-2, with members Jim Mortenson and Diana Lowe opposed.
Ledford made a variety of accusations, including that Skolarus abused certain duties that were her responsibility and had to be taken away and reassigned but also more serious election-related issues.
The charge is related to the use of a disapproved ballot container for absentee ballots in the November 3rd election, which is illegal under election law. Minutes of the county’s Canvassing Board indicate that a proposed retabulation of ballots in Genoa’s Absentee Voter Counting Board (AVCB) 2 could not be done after their chain of custody was called into question as “some of the Ballots were sealed into an unapproved and uncertified ballot container.”
Livingston County Clerk Betsy Hundley told WHMI she prides herself on her working relationship with each of the city and township clerks in Livingston County, including Skolarus. However, one of her duties as the chief election official within Livingston County is to report violations of Michigan’s election laws.
Following approval of the minutes from the November canvass, Hundley says her office notified former Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt about the situation, which began an investigation. That culminated in the charge being filed on March 9th.
Skolarus, who is set to be arraigned on the count May 7th, has not returned a request for comment.