LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A town clerk in southeastern Michigan will be barred from running any elections after being charged earlier this week by the state attorney general for acting as a fake elector in 2020 for then-President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, the Michigan Bureau of Elections notified Stan Grot, a Republican who has served as the Shelby Township clerk since 2012, that he will be prohibited from administering elections while the charges are pending.
Grot was among the 16 Republicans charged earlier this week by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel for allegedly signing certificates that falsely stated Trump won the state, not Biden. Each of the 16 people face the same eight criminal charges, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election forgery. The most serious charges carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Grot declined to discuss the charges against him but pledged to adhere to the directive in the letter.
“There’s a request for me to recuse myself from elections until the issue of charges is resolved and I intend to abide by it,” Grot said.
Conducting elections is one of the primary duties of a clerk. Grot is an elected official and will continue in his other roles as township clerk, such as preparing agendas and recording meetings. Shelby Township is a suburb of Detroit and holds a population of close to 80,000.
The letter, provided by the secretary of state’s office, says that while Grot is “innocent until proven guilty,” his alleged role in the fake elector scheme “undermines voter confidence in the integrity of elections.”
Local clerks across the country have faced legal consequences for alleged crimes committed after embracing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
A former clerk in Colorado, Tina Peters, is awaiting trial after an alleged effort to breach voting system technology that is used across the country following the 2020 election, according to an indictment.
Stephanie Scott, a small-town clerk in Michigan accused of improperly handling voting equipment after casting doubt on Biden’s election victory, was stripped of her election duties in 2021. She was ousted by voters earlier this year.
Grot and others allegedly met inside the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on December 14, 2020. They signed their names to a certificate stating they were the qualified electors for Trump and transmitted the false documents to Congress and the National Archives, according to an affidavit released by Nessel’s office Tuesday.
The group includes the head of the Republican National Committee’s chapter in Michigan, Kathy Berden, as well as the former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Meshawn Maddock, and Kent Vanderwood, the mayor of a west Michigan city.
The 16 charged individuals are scheduled to appear in an Ingham County district court on August 10 for an arraignment.
In the past, Grot has also served as a county commissioner, county deputy treasurer and assistant secretary of state, according to his Shelby Township biography. He sought the Republican nomination for secretary of state in 2018 before dropping out due to family obligations and “timing and the overall political atmosphere.”
Associated Press writer Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta contributed to this report.