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Kent County Clerk says audit confirms alleged tampering didn't affect outcome of primary election

person voting
Katie Raymond
Michigan Radio
Person voting

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons said Friday that an audit has confirmed an incident of alleged tampering in a Kent County precinct in the August primary election didn't affect the outcome.

Lyons ordered the audit after an election day worker allegedly tampered with a computer in Precinct 8 of Gaines Charter Township. Authorities said he was observed putting a personal USB drive into a computer containing an Electronic Poll Book.

The computer held confidential, personal information about the precinct's voters, but it was neither connected to the internet nor able to change votes in the ballot tabulators, Posthumus Lyons said. Nevertheless, she said, she called for an audit to reassure voters.

“Conducting this audit was critical to reaffirm the results in Gaines Township, Precinct 8 and to rebuild public trust that was jeopardized as a result of this egregious violation," Posthumus Lyons said.

Part of the audit involved a hand count of ballots. The hand count found a discrepancy of only five votes that were not tallied — a tiny fraction of the total and not nearly enough to change the results.

The man accused of the tampering, James Donald Holkeboer, was registered with the county as a Republican He has been charged with two felonies.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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