'Incredibly alarming': Republican poll worker in Michigan charged with tampering with voting equipment

A Michigan poll worker has been charged after a witness saw him inserting a USB drive into an electronic poll book after the Aug. 2 statewide primary, the Detroit Free Press reports.

James Holkeboer, an election inspector at the Gaines Township 8th Precinct, has been charged with falsifying records under election law and using a computer to commit a crime.

As Detroit Free Press points out, poll books contain voter registration data that includes personal and confidential information that election workers use to oversee elections at their precincts.

Holkeboer registered with the county as a Republican, according to Michigan Radio. Detroit Free Press reported that "an individual with the same name served as an alternate delegate for the 3rd Congressional District at the Michigan Republican Party's State Endorsement Convention earlier this year."

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Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons says the incident did not result in any unwarranted access to voting machines or election results.

"(T)his incident is extremely egregious and incredibly alarming. Not only is it a violation of Michigan law, but it is a violation of public trust and of the oath all election workers are required to take," Posthumus Lyons said.

"Let me be very clear: voter fraud and illegal election activity in Kent County will not be tolerated. Our citizens deserve to have faith in their elections and in those who work them. I will do everything possible to keep Kent County’s elections secure, transparent, fair, and accurate. If someone or something threatens that, we will take aggressive action to protect our elections and hold those responsible accountable."

She said the Kent County Clerk's Office will conduct a post-election audit of the precinct and the poll book in question will be replaced.

A spokesperson for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement to the Free Press, "we take seriously all violations of election law and will continue to work with the relevant authorities to assure there are consequences for those who break the law ... Michigan voters can be confident that their votes will be counted accurately and securely.”