Wisconsin anti-vote-fraud activist commits voter fraud to make his point

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MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin man this week ordered mail-in ballots for himself on behalf of a mayor and top state lawmaker in what he says was an attempt to expose vulnerabilities in the state’s voting system.

Harry Wait, who leads a group in southeastern Wisconsin that has focused on voting issues, said Thursday he was prepared to go to jail to prove his point. The stunt angered many state election officials, especially those who have spent the past few years battling baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

“I would take this hit for the country,” Wait said of a jail sentence. “You can’t have ballots everywhere, without guarantees.”

“I committed a crime when I did it,” he said, “but do you think criminals care when they do it?”

Wait said he used the state’s online elections portal on Tuesday to request that mail-in ballots for the Aug. 9 primary be sent to his home on behalf of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ( R) and Racine Mayor Cory Mason (D). Wait faced the two officials several times as chairman of the HOT Government group, which takes its name from an acronym meaning “honest, open and transparent”.

Shortly after making the demands, Wait explained his actions in an email to Vos and Mason as well as Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson (R) and Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling (R ), which promoted the claims of former President Donald Trump. fraud and called for the arrest of five of the state’s election commissioners.

Wait said he and others requested about a dozen ballots in all. Along with ballot requests for Vos and Mason, Wait said he had permission from voters to request their ballots. He said he did not receive ballots for Vos and Mason and did not expect it because he alerted authorities to what he had done.

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Hanson said she was investigating the matter. Under Wisconsin law, it is a misdemeanor to make a false statement to obtain a ballot and a felony to make a false statement to an election clerk.

In a Facebook post about the incident, Schmaling made no mention of investigating Wait – and instead called for an investigation of the state’s online election portal, MyVote Wisconsin.

Ann Jacobs, who serves on the state’s Elections Commission, said the district attorney should charge anyone involved in the effort to obtain ballots for others.

“They intentionally went and stole someone’s ballot,” said Jacobs, a Democrat on a politically divided board. “It’s like walking into Walmart and picking up a big-screen TV and walking out on it, and then going to the cops and saying, ‘It’s really easy to steal that. You stole it anyway.

Jacobs and nonpartisan commission director Meagan Wolfe said the attempts to illegally obtain ballots revealed no vulnerabilities in the state system.

“Intentionally using someone else’s identity to subvert the system does not demonstrate a fault with MyVote, but rather a fault with that person’s conduct,” Wolfe said in a written statement. “A nefarious person who chooses to impersonate someone else to obtain official documents of any kind – whether for election purposes or any other purpose – is a clear violation of state law and state law. federal and could suffer the consequences.”

The question prompted the electoral commission to call an emergency meeting on Thursday evening.

Vos released a statement denouncing Wait’s move and noting that Wait supported Vos’ main opponent.

“His actions are sad,” Vos said in his statement. “If election integrity means anything, it means we all have to obey the law – Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Mason said he wanted Wait charged.

“He clearly broke the law and tried to take away my right to vote, as well as Robin’s,” he said. “You can say there should be more security at the local bank. You can’t rob the bank to make your point.

Mason said he feared Wait’s actions would raise unfounded suspicions of voter fraud just before the fall election.

“It’s clearly untrue and, you know, mixed in with all sorts of ironies from people so desperate to prove a conspiracy that doesn’t exist that they’re willing to commit the very crime they claim to be trying to prevent.” , did he declare. .

Wisconsin’s online portal allows registered voters to request absentee ballots after logging in using their names and birth dates. They can have the ballots sent anywhere so that those who are temporarily living away from home have the opportunity to vote.

A similar procedure can be followed by sending a paper form by post.

Most voters must provide a copy of photo identification the first time they request an absentee ballot that the election clerk may keep on file. Voters who say they are housebound due to age or disability do not have to show ID, but making a false claim is a crime.

When voters make ballot requests online, their clerk receives an email notifying them of the request. The clerk makes the final decision on whether or not to issue ballots.

Wait said he recently told a reporter for the conservative Epoch Times how to request an absentee ballot in Wait’s name and have it sent to Michigan. Shortly after, he received a call from his clerk advising him of the request, he said.

Wait said the system worked in this case, but he was concerned that employees in other parts of the state weren’t as diligent.

“I want MyVote shut down,” Wait said. “I want all mail-in ballots closed until they can secure the ballots.”

Ballot boxes not allowed in Wisconsin, according to state Supreme Court rules

Wait made his ballot requests two weeks before the primary, when Vos faced a challenge from Adam Steen. The primary will also narrow the field for the governor and the US Senate.

Wait, who backs Steen, had a long battle with Vos in the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden beat Trump by an estimated 21,000 votes in Wisconsin — results that have been upheld by courts and independent reviews.

Wait said he doesn’t believe Vos did enough to review the election, even though Vos hired a former state Supreme Court justice to lead a year-long investigation into it.

Last year, Schmaling called Jacobs and four other election commissioners to face felony charges for policies they established to vote in nursing homes in 2020. Because nursing homes weren’t allowing visitors During the coronavirus pandemic, the Elections Commission told clerks to disregard a law that required them to send poll workers to these facilities and instead send absentee ballots to residents.

Hanson and two other district attorneys declined to charge the commissioners. Two other prosecutors have not said whether they plan to press charges in the matter.

Schmaling did not call back Thursday, but Wait said the sheriff told him he had no plans to arrest him during a call they had on Wednesday.

“He said, ‘Thank you so much for opening up this opening,'” Wait said of his conversation with Schmaling. stop?’ And he said, ‘hell, no.’ ”

That same morning, Schmaling posted a message on Facebook that read, “I am discouraged by the apparent vulnerabilities in My Vote Wisconsin that are ripe for fraud, and everyone – regardless of their political leanings – should join the request for a full statewide investigation. in this important issue of electoral integrity.

By Thursday afternoon, the post had generated hundreds of comments and had been shared nearly 1,000 times.

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