A Democrat election official has been charged with voter fraud in Michigan and faces ten years in prison.
Kathy Funk, a former township clerk and current county elections supervisor, has been charged with ballot tampering and blocking votes from being counted in the state’s August 2020 primary.
Funk is also charged with misconduct in office, the Michigan attorney general’s office announced.
According to a report by MLive-The Flint Journal, Funk was the township clerk in Flint Township, Michigan, running for reelection as a Democrat back in 2020, and oversaw the election as well.
Public broadcaster Michigan Radio reported that during the August primary, Funk reported a break-in at the township’s offices to police, telling them that the seal on a ballot container was broken.
But, after an investigation by the Michigan State Police, the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel came to a different conclusion: Funk had broken the seal herself.
“The Department of Attorney General alleges Funk purposely broke a seal on a ballot container so that the votes inside, under Michigan Election Law, could not be counted in an anticipated recount,” the Michigan Department of Attorney General said in a Friday statement.
“Funk was running for re-election, and narrowly prevailed in the unofficial count.”
Funk would eventually defeat challenger Manya Triplett by a margin of 2,698 votes to 2,619.
She ran as a Democrat and held onto her position until November when she announced she was taking a job as elections supervisor in the Genesee County Clerk-Register John Gleason’s office.
Genesee County is Michigan’s fifth-most-populous county.
Funk has kept her job at the county despite a Michigan State Police investigation into her conduct in August 2020.
In the MLive.com-The Flint Journal report, Triplett said that she’d asked for a recount after she said she witnessed suspicious activity at the township’s offices in the days before and after the primary.
Triplett was told the break-in prevented any recount, given the tampering with the ballot boxes, according to the report.
Funk now faces felony charges of ballot tampering and misconduct in office, both of which carry potential five-year sentences if she’s convicted.
She pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Monday, according to MLive.
“Election officials must uphold the integrity of their positions,” Nessel said.
“Those who abuse that commitment undermine the very foundation of our democracy.
“Our department is committed to prosecuting election violations, regardless of the political party of the perpetrator.”
No recount was ever performed in the August 2020 election, but after Funk stepped down Triplett was appointed to replace her.
An AP review of election fraud in Michigan and five other battleground states found that state officials identified a total of 56 potential instances of voter fraud in Michigan.