Genoa Clerk Arraigned On Election Violation Charge
May 7, 2021
By Jon King / email@example.com
A local township clerk was arraigned today after being charged for an election law violation related to last November’s election.
Genoa Township Clerk Polly Skolarus was charged in March by the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office on a single, misdemeanor charge of Election Law - Failure to Perform Duty. It was filed following an investigation by Michigan State Police.
In 53rd District Court today, Skolarus appeared in front of Magistrate Jerry Sherwood along with her attorney Jim Metz, who entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. Sherwood set a standard $500 bond on the 90-day misdemeanor count. A probable cause conference on the case was also set for June 21st in front of District Court Judge Daniel Bain.
The State Police report, which was obtained by WHMI through a Freedom of Information Act request, said the charge was filed after Skolarus stored excess absentee ballots used in the November election in canvas bags that were unapproved by the State Bureau of Elections. The report said that when Skolarus brought the bags to the November 9th meeting of the Livingston County Board of Canvassers, it was immediately recognized that they were not in legal compliance.
Witnesses also stated that Skolarus admitted she had ordered the excess ballots to be placed in the bags, at one point even saying “it’s totally my fault.” However, at Monday’s meeting of the Genoa Township Board, Skolarus insisted she was innocent of the charge.
Despite that, Michigan's Director of Elections Jonathan Brater ordered Skolarus to refrain from conducting any business related to elections, including processing ballots and voter registration, until the case is adjudicated. Tracy Wimmer, a spokesperson for the Michigan Secretary of State, said the prohibitions are standard practice when an election official faces an election-related crime.