Newly released legal documents detail a Michigan woman apparently fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a ‘stolen’ 2020 presidential election who is charged with attempting to tamper with a voting machine .
Tera Jackson, 56, was arrested in October for common law fraud and aiding and abetting unauthorized computer access, according to a Friday report from The Petoskey Press Review. A warrant had been issued for Jackson’s arrest in March 2021.
In January 2021, Jackson allegedly falsely claimed to be a member of the nonexistent “Election Integrity Commission” to gain access to a voting machine owned by the small community in Cross Village Township. Township Clerk Diane Keller told the Newspaper that she met with a township administrator at the community center on January 14, 2021 and discovered what appeared to be a break-in.
A door where voting materials were stored was ajar and a tabulating machine appeared to be missing screws, according to Keller. The trustee who met her, Howard Wood, was accompanied by two men wearing body armor, one of whom was armed. Wood said the men were there to carry out a “forensic audit” of the voting materials, although no audit was officially scheduled and he did not have the authority to organize one.
After police were called to report the break-in, a deputy from the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene and interviewed Allan Coveyou, apparently one of the men who was to conduct the audit, according to a affidavit of the deputy. Coveyou, a computer technician, explained that he was contacted by Jackson to clone the voting machine data under the belief that he “needs to be wiped from the data in the near future”, according to the police affidavit .
It was never intended to erase the data from the machine. Keller told the Newspaper that she was due to meet with a maintenance worker the day after meeting with the trustee to discuss cleaning the physical parts of the machine to avoid paper jams and avoid “problems” in the next election .
The sheriff’s deputy quickly determined that the election integrity commission that Jackson claimed to be a part of did not exist and was not a legitimate government agency, police said. Police say Jackson changed her story when confronted and claimed she was instead a member of the “Data Integrity Group”, and that her position was secret and therefore could not be confirmed with the supposed group.
Jackson told the deputy that “there was data on a satellite belonging to Vatican City that would prove that election fraud occurred in the United States,” according to the affidavit. The bizarre claim may be related to the “Italygate” conspiracy theory, which was popular among pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory adherents at the time and falsely claimed that an Italian security firm helped rig the 2020 election to secure victory for President Joe Biden.
A vote count from the small community of Cross Village shows Trump winning the township by a narrow margin of less than 1%, 115 votes to Biden’s 112 votes. Although Trump lost Michigan to Biden by more than 150,000 votes, the former president won Emmet County, where Cross Village sits, by nearly 2,500 votes. Trump lost to Biden by more than 7 million popular votes nationally and by 72 votes in the Electoral College.
Newsweek contacted the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office for comment.