Shelby Township Clerk Grot vying for secretary of state

Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot speaks with reporters after announcing his 2018 Republican run for Michigan secretary of state on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in front of the Capitol in Lansing, Mich. GOP Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is barred from seeking a third term. [AP PhotoDavid Eggert]

LANSING– Republican Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot launched his campaign for secretary of state on Tuesday, proposing a “voter integrity” plan with a strict photo ID requirement and other components he said would eradicate suspicions of fraud.

“I’m not saying there’s fraud right now, but we need to remove any doubts that there may be fraud,” Grot told reporters after announcing his candidacy on the Capitol steps alongside some two-dozen supporters. At the event, he was endorsed by freshman U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, whose district includes Grot’s home turf of Macomb County.

“He’s been a leader on conservative issues in this state,” Mitchell said.

GOP and Democratic delegates will choose their secretary of state nominees at conventions next summer. Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is barred from seeking a third term. It has been more than 22 years since a Democrat last held the office, which oversees elections and issues driver’s licenses and plates.

Grot, a 65-year-old immigrant from Poland, contributed $63,000 to his campaign through late July. He will battle state Sen. Mike Kowall of Oakland County’s White Lake Township and potentially others for the GOP nomination. Kowall, who had about $19,000 in his Senate campaign account that may be transferred to a secretary of state bid, said he probably will formally announce his candidacy in September.

“We’re spending a lot of time out talking to people right now,” he said.

Kowall said activists are worried about hackers tampering with elections and he is looking to propose related legislation.