Michigan official gets six months house arrest for ballot sabotage

A local official in Michigan accused of breaking a seal on a ballot box in her own election to ensure that votes couldn't be recounted was sentenced Monday to six months of house arrest.

Kathy Funk, a Democrat, must wear an electronic monitor and also write a public apology for her actions in 2020 as the Flint Township clerk.

In January, Funk pleaded no contest to misconduct in office. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is used as such at sentencing. 

Funk had won the Democratic nomination by just 79 votes out of about 5,300. A recount was not conducted, and she subsequently won the general election that fall. Investigators say she sabotaged the ballot box after the primary election, an act that would make those ballots ineligible for a recount.

Funk, 59, initially told state police she thought someone had broken into the township hall and damaged the seal on the ballot cannister.

At her sentencing, Judge Mark Latchana admonished Funk for her break-in theory.

"I'm sure there's a segment of the population that thinks you should be locked up for calling into question the integrity of an election," Latchana said Monday. "And if we had unlimited jail space, perhaps that's true. But we don't."

Funk quit her township position in 2021 for a bigger job as elections supervisor for Genesee County, 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Detroit, but she was dismissed last year while her criminal case was pending.