OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Ottawa County Clerk is responding to a livestream posted by Republican candidate for governor Ryan Kelley that appears to show him telling prospective poll workers to tamper with voting machines.
“If you see something you don’t like happening with the machines, if you see something going on, unplug it from the wall,” Kelley said in the video posted to his Facebook page over the weekend. “Take control of the narrative.”
Kelley, who is a member of the Allendale Township Planning Commission, doubled down on his comments during a phone call with News 8 Monday.
“My message was if individuals working the election expect fraud, that they repair the injury,” Kelley said. “I stand by that 100%. The left is mad that we are taking control of the narrative and we will not let them steal another election.”
Kelley, who is no stranger to controversy, was seen participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at U.S. Capitol.
His latest comments, during a campaign event in Brighton on Saturday, quickly caught the attention of election officials on both sides of the aisle.
Republican Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck said Kelley’s misinterpretation of election laws are concerning and potentially harmful to our democracy.
“This statue essentially gives the election inspectors the authority to inspect the voting equipment to determine whether or not it’s been tampered with by a voter or anyone else who is in the precinct,” Roebuck said. “But at no point is it ever lawful for one election inspector to essentially shutdown the process of voting if they suspect something.”
Roebuck said if an election worker suspects fraud, they’re trained to follow a proper chain of command to investigate the situation.
“It’s really important for people to remember that there is a process in place, and we follow the rule of law,” Roebuck said.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel posted tweets in response to Kelley’s remarks, writing it’s illegal to tamper with election machines and anyone who does so will be prosecuted.
The top Democratic officials also warmed against voter intimidation, after Republican state senate candidate Mike Detmer appears in the same video as Kelley, telling supporters to “be prepared to lock and load” in response to possible election fraud.
“So, you asked what can we do? Show up armed,” Detmer said in the video. “If not, the poll workers (unintelligible). Make sure that justice prevails.”