A 50-year-old Missouri man was indicted Tuesday after he allegedly left a threatening voicemail on an Arizona election official’s personal cellphone in May 2021, the Department of Justice announced.
Walter Lee Hoornstra of Tecumseh, a town about 260 miles southeast Kansas City, was charged with communicating an interstate threat and making a threatening telephone call when he allegedly threatened an official from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Arizona around May 19, 2021.
“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,” Hoornstra allegedly said in the voicemail.
“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 FBI in Phoenix is investigating the case, and Justice Department attorney Tanya Senanayake will prosecute the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri also assisted.
Hoornstra could face up to seven years in prison if he is convicted of both charges. He will be sentenced in federal district court.
The case is part of the DOJ’s Elections Threats Task Force, which launched in June 2021 to address violent threats targeting elections workers.
“The FBI is committed to vigorously investigating and holding accountable anyone who threatens election workers,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division in a news release.
“These public servants protect our fundamental right to vote by administering fair and free elections. Any attempts to interfere with our elections by intimidating election officials, their staffs, and volunteers with threats of violence will not be tolerated.”