Fifty data cards needed to run West Bloomfield’s upcoming primary election have been stolen from a controlled access room at Township Hall.
The cards, which have no resale value, were swiped from the elections office which contains close to $300,000 worth of electronic equipment, such as laptop computers, however, nothing but the cards were taken.
Township Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy and her staff discovered the theft Wednesday morning. The cards were being run through diagnostic tests to make sure they were in tip top shape for the upcoming election and were secure in the elections office which requires a pass card as well as a master key after hours to open the room.
West Bloomfield police are investigating the theft which is election tampering, a ten year felony. Police are reviewing surveillance tapes as well as the pass card usage and will bring in the Michigan State Police if polygraphs are required.
"Why would anyone steal something that has no monetary value?" Shaughnessy told Local 4. “The only thing I’m left to conclude is this was a malicious attempt to discredit me as an election official.”
There is no question in her mind, or to the chief of police, this was an inside job by either an employee or an elected official. Shaughnessy has now been forced to remove the elections office from master key access. What the thief didn’t realize is the clerk had a back up set of 50 data cards in another location. The election will go on and in no way be compromised. However, the Township will now be forced to buy another back up set of data cards which is a $5,500 expense.
“I’m going to get through this. We will be in position to have everything ready for the voters and each and every vote will be counted correctly,” Shaughnessy said.