In a rebuke to election denialism and extremism, a small, heavily Republican township in Michigan successfully recalled a clerk who has been accused of elevating election denialism and her ally on the township board. The outgoing clerk, Stephanie Scott, and township supervisor Mark Nichols were replaced by Suzy Roberts, a retired auto industry worker and Randy Johnson, who works in the local school district, respectively.
Since 2020, Adams Township and the surrounding county of Hillsdale have become an unlikely focal point in Trump allies’ fruitless search for proof of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Scott, the local clerk, was stripped of her election administration duties by the Michigan secretary of state after refusing to turn over voting equipment for regularly scheduled maintenance. State police later initiated an investigation when part of the voting machine went missing and again when Scott was accused of sharing confidential voter data with a third party.
In interviews with the Guardian and other media outlets, Scott has maintained that she has not acted improperly.
During Scott’s term in office, national figures involved with the campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election developed an interest in the township. Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock, and a key figure in Trump’s push to challenge the 2020 election, presented virtually at an “election integrity forum” in Adams Township. For legal representation, Scott turned to Stefanie Lambert, an attorney who signed on to numerous lawsuits challenging the election results in Michigan and has represented the conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell. Lambert was sanctioned by a federal judge for her role in a lawsuit that attempted to overturn Biden’s win in Michigan and asserted baseless claims about the election there.
In Adams Township, residents say the conspiracy theories and political upheaval tore at the fabric of the community. Johnson, who was elected to replace Nichols as a township supervisor, says the recall is only the first step in restoring trust in the electoral process within the divided town. “Monday night is our first board meeting that we’ll be running. We expect it to be a circus,” he said. In the long run, he said he thought that “the nonsense will go away with those two being gone.”