Michigan election employee charged with tampering with voting gear

An election employee in a western Michigan city has been charged with two felonies after allegedly inserting a flash drive into a pc containing confidential voter registration information throughout an election in August, native officers mentioned on Wednesday.

On the Aug. 2 major, an election employee was seen inserting a USB drive into the pc used to manage the election at a precinct in Gaines Township in Kent County, in accordance with an announcement by county clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons.

The incident highlights the so-called “insider menace” danger that has more and more nervous election officers, particularly in battleground states like Michigan the place falsehoods about systemic voter fraud within the 2020 election have unfold most generally.

“This incident is extraordinarily egregious and extremely alarming. Not solely is it a violation of Michigan legislation, however it’s a violation of public belief and of the oath all election staff are required to take,” Lyons mentioned within the assertion.

Chris Becker, the county’s prosecuting legal professional, mentioned he had charged the election employee, James Donald Holkeboer, with falsifying election data and utilizing a pc to commit against the law. If convicted, he may withstand 9 years in jail.

Holkeboer couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

Whereas Lyons didn’t title Holkeboer, she mentioned the incident concerned one of many “on a regular basis residents educated and licensed by clerks to work the precincts and absentee county boards” and was not an worker of the county or Gaines Township.

The election employee was seen by a witness at a precinct in Gaines Township inserting a USB drive into the Digital Ballot E book, the pc used to manage the election. The ballot e book accommodates voter registration information, together with confidential info barred from launch below Michigan legal guidelines.

Lyons mentioned the breach didn’t impression the result of the August major because it occurred after the recordsdata had already been saved to the precinct’s encrypted system. She mentioned the ballot e book isn’t related to any tabulation gear or the web.

There have been a sequence of safety breaches associated to voting gear in Michigan following the 2020 presidential election, with supporters of former President Donald Trump and his baseless claims about widespread voter fraud in search of entry to tabulators in varied places within the state.

Final month, Lawyer Normal Dana Nessel, a Democrat, appointed a particular prosecutor to supervise the prison investigation her workplace had kicked off into the safety breaches. She sought to step again from the probe as a result of her Republican challenger in November’s election, Matt DePerno, was among the many 9 people dealing with doable prices.

A spokesperson for Michigan’s Secretary of State mentioned the breached gear in Gaines Township has been decommissioned and won’t be used within the November basic election.

“Whereas our elections stay safe and protected, we take critically all violations of election legislation and can proceed to work with the related authorities to guarantee there are penalties for individuals who break the legislation,” Angela Benander mentioned in an emailed assertion.

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