Detroit-area official charged with altering voter records

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - An election official in suburban Detroit has been charged with six crimes related to how she handled absentee ballot records during the 2018 election.

State police say Sherikia Hawkins, the elected clerk in Southfield, falsified and forged records after Oakland County officials raised questions about how the city accounted for absentee ballots. It's important that the number of ballots equals the number of people who participated in the election.

Hawkins is accused of switching her original reports with altered reports. Originals were found in a trash can.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says no races were won or lost based on Hawkins' alleged acts. Benson barred Hawkins from managing any local election activities while the case is pending.

Defense attorney Harold Gurewitz says Hawkins has a good record as an elections manager, and he predicts she'll be vindicated.