By Patrick Colbeck
On April 13 2023, I submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 23-350 to the Canton Township, Michigan FOIA Coordinator requesting the latest version of the data that I had received in a successful August 2022 FOIA request. Despite having previously provided this data, my latest request was denied. Why?
The official reason cited for their denial this time is:
“the disclosure of the records would impact the safety and security of the Township’s voting systems. As a result, that information is exempt from disclosure under Section 13(1)(y). Section 13 (1)(y) permits the Township to exempt records or information of measures designed to protect the security or safety of persons or property or the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information systems. MCL 15.243(1)(y). The information is also exempt from disclosure because it would disclose procedures, methods, results, organizational information system infrastructure, hardware, or software that would impact the cyber security of the Township. Therefore, it is also exempt under Section 15.243(1)(z).”Canton Township FOIA Coordinator 23-350 FOIA Request Response
When I asked what changed between the time of my August 2022 request and my April 2023 request, I received no response. Either they negligently disclosed sensitive information in response to my August 2022 request or they are attempting to cover-up gross negligence regarding the security of our election records.
What Data Did I Ask For?
I simply asked for the current versions of the files they provided me with during my August 2022 request. These files reside on the Canton Election Management System (EMS) Server.
Of particular interest were the highlighted files – FirewallProfile.txt and InstalledPrograms.txt.
The EMS server is the nerve center of the entire election. It is responsible for tallying the votes across each of Canton’s 33 voting precincts.
Why Did I Ask For The Same Data At Two Different Times?
The Canton Township Clerk, Mike Siegrist, is responsible for managing the election records of 75,175 registered voters in my hometown of Canton. It is important for Canton residents to know that these records are managed in a secure manner. According to the data provided in response to my August 2022 FOIA request, these records were not secure. I decided to reissue my same FOIA request to see if Clerk Siegrist had taken steps to secure the EMS Server since my initial request.
What Are They Trying To Hide?
My August 2022 request revealed two glaring examples of gross negligence on behalf of Clerk Siegrist.
- ALL of the firewall ports (including remote desktop access) on the EMS Server were configured to allow incoming and outgoing traffic
- Non-certified software (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio) capable of modifying election results without detection was installed.
These security gaps seem to be designed to allow remote personnel to access and manipulate the data on the EMS Server that manages the election records for 75,175 voters. The fact that there is no indication that Clerk Siegrist took steps to close these security gaps should be quite concerning.
Review the files that I received as a result of my August 2022 FOIA request for yourselves at:
The aforementioned concerns with the firewall configuration and powerful database management software would be mitigated significantly if the EMS server was not connected to any other systems. We have heard repeatedly that our election systems were not connected to the internet. Is that true? No.
Previous FOIA requests revealed emails such as the following from Dominion Voting Systems manager Cheryl Holmes to election officials in Wayne County including Canton’s officials.
Cellular “transmissions” are simply internet connections over a cellular data network.
In the wake of the 2020 election, there was a significant body of evidence indicating election fraud pertaining to absentee ballots. Canvassing efforts revealed voting history anomalies related to absentee voting of between 4% and 44% in an election reportedly decided by only 2.78%. To this day, the official records of the Michigan Secretary of State show over 220,000 fewer voters than ballots cast in an election that reportedly decided who the leader of the free world would be by only 154,188 votes. There were also concerns about dead people on our voter rolls and lack of signature verification for absentee voters.
In spite of these concerns, many of the election-related lawsuits put before the courts didn’t even go to trial leaving many citizens scratching their heads, why? Perhaps this letter from Clerk Siegrist to 35th District Court Judge Mike Gerou just months before the 2020 election provides some explanation.
It certainly seems that Clerk Siegrist was engaged in pre-emptive Ex Parte communication with Judge Gerou’s on matters that might come before his court in the wake of the 2020 election.
For the record, states are leaving ERIC in droves for their failure to secure the integrity of voter rolls. In fact, the Public Interest Legal Foundation had to file a lawsuit to get Michigan to remove over 26,000 dead voters from the voter rolls.
It certainly appears that Canton Township Clerk Mike Siegrist has failed to secure the central nerve center of Canton elections from manipulation. Due to the rejection of my FOIA request, it is difficult to know for sure. What we do know for sure, however, is that Clerk Siegrist is…
a) grossly negligent in the execution of his clerk duties or
b) complicit with enabling the ability of someone to manipulate election results or
c) has taken steps to secure our election records but, as an elected official who loves media attention, he is simply shy about letting the world know that he has finally done his job.
I am currently in process of appealing the denial of my April 2023 FOIA request with the Canton Township Board. It remains to be seen if the Canton Township Board of Trustees share my concerns regarding the security of our election records under the responsibility of Clerk Siegrist.
It is clear that the clerks in Detroit and Canton Township do not take their statutory responsibility under MCL 41.65 to secure our election records seriously. Thankfully, there are many clerks who do execute this responsibility with the utmost professionalism and honor.
- Election System “Air Gap” Myths
- Let’s Audit the MI Auditor General Report on Elections
- Detroit Elections: Smoke and Mirrors