by Elizabeth Faddis, Breaking News Reporter| March 13, 2022
An elections official and former township clerk in Michigan has been charged with ballot tampering and misconduct in office relating to the August 2020 primary.
The Michigan Attorney General‘s Office says that Kathy Funk, who had been working as the Flint Township clerk, “purposely broke a seal” on a ballot container, according to a press release on Friday. Funk allegedly broke the seal so that, under Section 168. 871 of Michigan election laws, the ballots inside could not be counted in a recount.
“Election officials must uphold the integrity of their positions,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Funk, as the township clerk, was responsible for overseeing the August 2020 election and was seeking another term as clerk, according to Michigan Live. Funk went on to receive 2,698 votes over her opponent Manya Triplett, who received 2,619, according to official Michigan election results.
Triplett said that she had asked that a recount take place after noticing some suspicious activity at the township’s election hall, according to Michigan Live.
Nessel said, “Those who abuse that commitment undermine the very foundation of our democracy,” adding that her department is “committed to prosecuting election violations, regardless of the political” affiliation.
Under Section 168.871 of Michigan law, “the board of canvassers conducting a recount” is to recount “all ballots of a precinct using an electronic voting system” unless one or more possible circumstances arise, according to the Michigan Legislature’s website.
Election officials must uphold the integrity of their positions. 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. https://t.co/bnRmv41MsH
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) March 12, 2022
Certain possible circumstances that would lead to ballots not being recounted include “the seal on the transfer case or other ballot container” being broken or having a different number than recorded in the poll record book, the amount of ballots needing recounting and the amount issued on election day not matching up, the seal used on the “ballot label assembly” being found broken, or the numbers not matching the poll records and ballot labels, or even the candidate names, according to the Michigan Legislature’s website.
“She says it’s absolutely not true,” Matthew Norwood, Funk’s lawyer, told the Associated Press, adding that she is predicted to plead not guilty to the charges.
If found guilty, both charges carry a prison sentence of five years, according to the press release.
Funk’s arraignment is to be set by the “67th District Court,” according to the press release from the attorney general’s office.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Norwood for a statement but did not receive a response.