An election worker in a western Michigan town has been charged with two felonies after allegedly inserting a flash drive into a computer containing confidential voter registration data during an election in August. At the Aug. 2 primary, an election worker was seen inserting a USB drive into the computer used to administer the election at a precinct in Gaines Township in Kent County, said county clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons, Reuters reports. The incident highlights the so-called "insider threat" risk that has increasingly worried election officials, especially in battleground states like Michigan where falsehoods about systemic voter fraud in the 2020 election have spread widely. "This 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," Lyons said.
Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker said he charged the election worker, James Donald Holkeboer, with falsifying election records and using a computer to commit a crime. Lyons said the incident involved one of the "everyday citizens trained and certified by clerks to work the precincts and absentee county boards" and was not an employee of the county or Gaines Township. The election worker was seen by a witness inserting a USB drive into the Electronic Poll Book, the computer used to administer the election. The poll book contains voter registration data, including confidential information barred from release under Michigan laws. Lyons said the breach did not affect the outcome of the August primary, as it occurred after the files had already been saved to the precinct's encrypted system.