Genesee County Clerk charged, banned from upcoming election

(WNEM)
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 4:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Genesee County will have to do without its second major election official due to criminal charges.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections said, in the interest of public trust, Genesee County Clerk John Gleason may not participate in election activities.

Gleason was charged April 8 with bribing, intimidating and/or interfering with a witness, as well as willful neglect of duty. It stems from a nearly two-year-long investigation relating to actions between December 2019 and May of this year.

Background: Genesee Co. Clerk facing criminal charges

Although much of the details are not yet available, the incident involved a wedding that Gleason is alleged to have officiated without the proper paperwork. Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene said the charges relate not to the wedding itself, but Gleason’s behavior following it.

Reene did not go into further detail.

In a letter informing Clerk Gleason of the bureau’s decision, Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater said the eventual outcome of Gleason’s trial was not relevant because it would be decided after the election.

“…the criminal charges you currently face could eventually be resolved in your favor; however, allegations that you have intimidated a witness to interfere with an official proceeding and willfully failed to perform a legal duty threaten to fundamentally undermine voter confidence in the integrity of elections in Genesee County,” Brater wrote. “Therefore, in order to ensure public trust and confidence in the integrity and security of elections, I am instructing you to refrain from administering any elections held in Genesee County while these charges are pending against you.”

Brater said that Gleason’s official election duties should be performed by the county’s Chief Deputy Clerk until further notice.

Genesee County Elections Supervisor Kathy Funk is currently on leave due to unrelated criminal charges pending against her.

Background: Genesee County Elections Supervisor facing felony ballot tampering charges

Funk is facing multiple charges in Genesee County’s 67th District Court stemming from her time as Flint Township’s Clerk. Those include ‘election law – ballot tampering’ and ‘misconduct in office,’ both five-year felonies.

The Department of Attorney General alleges Funk intentionally broke a seal on a ballot container during her re-election race, so that the votes inside could not be counted in an anticipated recount.

Funk pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on a $50,000 bond.

Gleason was issued a $5,000 PR bond and was released from jail Friday afternoon. He is due back in court in May.

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