Justice Department charges man with threatening Maricopa County election official

The man is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail during the Maricopa County 2020 election audit

Updated: August 17, 2022 - 3:28pm

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The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the indictment of a Missouri man for allegedly threatening an election official in Arizona's Maricopa County.

Walter Lee Hoornstra, a 50-year-old from Tecumseh, Mo., faces one count of communicating an interstate threat and one count of making a threatening phone call in relation to a voicemail he reportedly left last year.

Hoornstra allegedly left a voicemail left on the personal cell phone of a Maricopa County Recorder’s Office official in May 2021, saying: "So I see you’re for fair and competent elections. That’s what it says here on your homepage for your recorder position.

"But you call things unhinged and insane lies when there’s a forensic audit going on. You need to check yourself. You need to do your [expletive] job right because other people from other states are watching your ass. You [expletive] renege on this deal. Or give them any more troubles, your ass will never make it to your next little board meeting."

The county was at the time undergoing an extensive audit of the 2020 election, which involved multiple ballot recounts and missing data.

"These unlawful threats of violence endanger election officials, undermine our electoral process, and threaten our democracy," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, Jr. 

If Hoornstra is convicted, he faces up to five years in prison for the interstate threat and up to two years for making a threatening phone call.

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