By Jessica Mathews /

Genoa Township Clerk Polly Skolarus has been acquitted on a misdemeanor election charge by a local jury.

Skolarus was charged with a single, misdemeanor charge of Election Law - Failure to Perform Duty after a Michigan State Police investigation involving the handling of ballots. The trial got underway last Friday in Livingston County District Court and the verdict was returned Monday.

The MSP report determined that Skolarus was responsible for storing excess absentee ballots used in the November 2020 election in canvas bags that were unapproved by the State Bureau of Elections.

The report stated when Skolarus brought the bags to a subsequent meeting of the Livingston County Board of Canvassers, it was immediately recognized that they were not in legal compliance. Specific containers to store ballots are required by law once tabulated.

Various election officials were called as witnesses during the trial and testified about ballots and containers and training and procedures.

Skolarus had faced up to 90 days in jail and/or $500 fine if convicted. In a statement, she told WHMI having to go to trial on a criminal charge has been a real hardship for her after serving 36 years in the clerk role.

Skolarus said the “not guilty” verdict was a victory for not only her but for all clerks who as election officials should not have to be afraid of prosecution when doing their job.

She said “the 2020 election was the most difficult election ever considering the accusations of voter fraud even before the ballots were counted. My amazing Deputy Clerk Mary Krencicki and wonderful poll workers worked so hard to run a perfect election. I cannot thank them enough. We have 18,000 registered voters and 9,300 of them voted Absent Voter Ballot. That our representatives in this State of Michigan would even question the validity of the ballot is unconscionable. That voters should be concerned that their vote may not have been counted is unconscionable. Our representatives in Lansing should be shouting that they are proud of the election process in Michigan instead of casting doubt”.

A letter from Skolarus is attached.