National Security

Missouri man charged with threatening Arizona election worker

People walk behind a sign that says Vote Here/Aqui.
AP Photo/Matt York
Voters deliver their ballot to a polling station in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 3, 2020.

A Missouri man has been indicted for allegedly threatening a Maricopa County, Ariz., election worker. 

In a news release on Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Walter Lee Hoornstra of Tecumseh, Mo., has been charged with communicating an interstate threat and making a threatening telephone call. 

The department said that according to court documents, Hoornstra allegedly left a threatening voicemail message on the personal cellphone of the Maricopa County election worker in May 2021. 

In the voicemail message to the election worker, Hoornstra allegedly said: “So I see you’re for fair and competent elections, that’s what it says here on your homepage for your recorder position you’re trying to fly here,” according to the DOJ.

“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,” Hoornstra allegedly added, according to the department, “You [expletive] renege on this deal or give them any more troubles, your ass will never make it to your next little board meeting.”

In a statement, the DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. condemned Hoornstra’s alleged actions, adding that the department’s newly created Election Threats Task Force remains committed to prosecuting individuals who threaten election workers. 

The DOJ launched its Election Threats Task Force last year in response to the growing number of violent threats against election workers following the 2020 presidential election.

“These unlawful threats of violence endanger election officials, undermine our electoral process, and threaten our democracy,” Polite said in a statement. “The department’s Election Threats Task Force, working with our partners across the country, remains committed to investigating and prosecuting such illegal threats to ensure that these public servants are able to do their jobs free from intimidation.”

Hoornstra, 50, could face up to a five-year prison sentence if convicted on the charge of communicating an interstate threat and up to a two-year sentence if convicted on the charge of making a threatening telephone call.

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election Arizona Department of Justice election security election threats election threats task force Maricopa County
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