GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In a small conference room in the lower level of the Gaines Township Hall on Tuesday, four Kent County election officials conducted an audit of ballots cast in the August primary.

The audit began at 9 a.m. and took several hours. Election officials, including county Clerk Lisa Pothumus Lyons, read through ballot tabulator rolls and checked the more than 800 paper ballots from Precinct 8, confirming everything lined up.

The audit was open to the public, so watching them was Gaines Township resident Alan Dunst.

“It shows that there’s a rigor and a concern for, particularly in this case, a complaint that was made,” Dunst said.

Despite a number of court rulings confirming various contested vote counts — notably the November 2020 presidential election — Dunst still has questions about the process.

“I do think it’s ironic that there were hundreds of complaints and affidavits filed in the wake of the election of 2020 that didn’t receive this level or rigor and investigation,” he said.

Posthumus Lyons, the clerk, called the audit after a James Holkeboer, who was working during the primary, was accused of trying to tamper with election records. She said someone saw Holkeboer insert a personal USB drive into an electronic poll book after polls closed. The electronic poll book is a laptop used to check voters in and make sure they’re registered, that they’re at the right precinct and that they had not already voted. Such poll books don’t have internet access and you can’t use them to access voting machines, ballot, tabulators or results. The USB was also inserted after the files in the poll book had been saved in an encrypted device and sealed in a certified container.

Posthumus Lyons has stressed that the outcome of the election was not affected but she ordered the audit to reassure voters that all was in order.

“This is just an effort that we’re doing to reaffirm the results of the election from this August primary election and to reassure the voters that this breach, this egregious and alarming breach that occurred with one of our election workers did not have, in any way, any impact on the election outcome,” she said.

Like most post-election audits, Tuesday’s uncovered a small number of discrepancies out of the over 800 votes cast.

“Minimal discrepancies are not out of the ordinary. That comes with the territory,” Pothumus Lyons said. “The bottom line is I want our voters to have confidence in their election. I want them to trust the process.”

The audit also affirmed the outcomes of the vote.

Authorities have not commented on a motive, but a source close to the investigation told News 8 that Holkeboer is affiliated with the Republican Party and the August primary was his first time working an election.

Holkeboer, 68, is expected to be arraigned on two felony counts — falsifying election records and using a computer to commit a crime — later this month. If convicted, he could face up to nine years in prison and $6,000 in fines.

—News 8 digital executive producer Rachel Van Gilder contributed to this report.