Appeals court dismisses charges against election worker who downloaded a voter list

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — An appeals court dismissed charges against a Michigan election worker who put a USB flash drive into an electronic poll book and downloaded the names of voters at the close of a primary election in 2022.

The court’s conclusion: James Holkeboer’s conduct was improper but not a crime.

He was charged with election fraud. But Holkeboer’s lawyers pointed out that the state law used by prosecutors only bars acts that change the election record.

“The prosecution had to demonstrate that Holkeboer fraudulently removed or secreted the election list of voters such that the information was no longer available or altered,” the court said in a 3-0 opinion Thursday.

“Here, no evidence was presented that election information was altered or made unavailable” to local election officials, the court said.

Holkeboer’s acts did not affect the results of the 2022 primary election. He was working at a polling place in Kent County’s Gaines Township, south of Grand Rapids, for the first time.

Holkeboer, a Republican, told investigators that he downloaded information about voters because he wanted to compare it to lists he was seeking under a separate public records request, according to a summary of the case.

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, who oversees elections, said she’s in favor of an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

“This breach of public trust must be addressed,” she said.


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