Sheriff Wants Wisconsin Absentee Ballot Request Process Halted Due to Alleged Vulnerabilities to Fraud

By Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Reporter
Steven Kovac reports for the National Team from Michigan. He is a former small businessman, local elected official, and conservative political activist. Steven is an ordained minister of the Gospel. He and his wife of 33 years have two grown children. He can be reached at steven.kovac@epochtimes.us
July 30, 2022 Updated: August 3, 2022

Less than two weeks before the Aug. 9 primary election, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling called on Wisconsin election officials to immediately suspend a major portion of the state-run absentee ballot program. He also requested an immediate statewide investigation based on an alleged serious threat to voter integrity.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Office stated on social media that it was acting in response to citizen complaints that reported “apparent vulnerabilities to fraudulent voting within the state’s website MyVote Wisconsin.”

MyVote Wisconsin is an official online election administration and information website.

The sheriff’s office stated that citizens have reported that “with only a person’s name and date of birth, anyone can request another person’s ballot and have the ballot sent to any address entered.”

“No identification is needed, and the requester can make a declaration of being indefinitely confined, thus, for the current and future elections, the requester will be sent someone else’s ballot at the different address,” it said.

Indefinite confinement in one’s residence due to health concerns is a valid reason to receive an absentee ballot under Wisconsin law.

According to the sheriff’s office, to test the vulnerability of the MyVote system, one complainant had a second party request an absentee ballot for him. The second party requested that the ballot be sent to the second party’s address. The second party received the complainant’s ballot in the mail.

Election officials count absentee ballots
Election officials count absentee ballots in Milwaukee on Nov. 4, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Another complainant, Harry Wait, a business consultant from the Racine area, explained the vulnerability to The Epoch Times.

Wait said that when a person goes to the MyVote Wisconsin website and searches by name, he can then enter in a person’s name and date of birth, and immediately the person’s address pops up.

He said a person’s date of birth is easily obtainable from marketing companies that routinely sell dates of birth, email addresses, cellphone numbers, and street addresses to the public.

Next, the person can request an absentee ballot and direct it to be delivered to an address other than the address of the voter who was ostensibly requesting the ballot.

He can then declare the voter to be “indefinitely confined” by checking a box on the form and can request that an absentee ballot be sent to the different address for the upcoming election and every election thereafter.

According to Wait, the problem isn’t the fact that, upon request, a clerk mails an absentee ballot to a different address than the voter’s registered address.

“That sort of thing legitimately happens when a person intends to be in Florida during the time of an election, for example. However, the real problem is the lack of verification of who is requesting the ballot,” he said.

“Anybody from around the world can order absentee ballots for anybody from Wisconsin, especially for names registered to vote in our big cities where it is impossible for election workers to know everybody.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission Denies System Is Vulnerable

In a press release dated July 28, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) stated: “There is no indication of any vulnerability with the MyVote application. … Voter fraud remains rare in Wisconsin. … The WEC and your local clerk are continually monitoring for any unlawful activity and working with state and federal authorities to investigate any and all attempts to break the law regarding access to absentee ballots.”

The WEC also said in the press release that MyVote doesn’t automatically send an absentee ballot to the requester. Instead, an email is sent to the voter’s municipal clerk, who is responsible to determine if the voter has provided the necessary and correct information. A photo ID must be on file or provided in order for the requester to receive a ballot.

“A person who attests they are indefinitely confined is not required to present a photo ID; however, those who make this attestation do so under the penalty of law,” the WEC said.

According to Politifact, 215,000 people claimed “indefinitely confined” status in Wisconsin in the November 2020 election.

Official counts show that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Wisconsin by 21,000 votes.

On July 22, Wisconsin Assembly election committee Chair Janel Brandtjen joined Assemblyman Tim Ramthun in calling for the decertification of the 2020 election results because of rampant cheating. Both are Republicans.

In a July 27 email to state and local Wisconsin officials of both parties obtained by The Epoch Times, attorney Dan Eastman, a former state securities commissioner and former Racine County finance director, addressed the vulnerability of the state’s bloated voter rolls to fraud.

Eastman, a Republican, laid the foundation for his argument early this year when he published data that showed that in Wisconsin, a state of 5.8 million people, there are 7 million names on the state’s voter roll. The study found that there are 4.2 million residents old enough to vote, and 3.3 million voted in the 2020 election.

Speaking directly about the absentee ballot issue, Eastman wrote: “This is how the ballot mills got the number of ballots needed to change election results. … We are happy to run any data search needed … for you to detect the hundreds of thousands of fake voters. … Hundreds of thousands of phantoms buried in the 7 million … and voted by nefarious actors. … In the end, this is massive fraud on our clerks and the people of Wisconsin.”

Wait told The Epoch Times: “When election clerks are overwhelmed with an avalanche of absentee ballot requests, experience has shown that it is just about impossible for them to carefully examine each one.

“The voter himself may never know that somebody else applied for an absentee ballot in his name unless he happened to track his ballot, or when he tries to legitimately request an absentee ballot for himself, or until he shows up to vote in person and is turned away because election workers tell him he has already voted by absentee.”

drop box ballot
Residents drop mail-in ballots into a ballot box outside a Tippecanoe library branch in Milwaukee on Oct. 20, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Cyber analyst Peter Bernegger, who is suing top election officials in Milwaukee to gain access to absentee ballots, applications, and envelopes from the 2020 election, told The Epoch Times on July 27: “A bad actor who knows how to automate the process can obtain 100,000 to 125,000 names of voters from the state lists, sort through them, obtain dates of birth, and then electronically flood the zone by sending out requests for an absentee ballot in enormous batches.

“It need not even be that technically sophisticated. A dozen individuals sitting in a room in front of computers could manually crank out thousands of such requests per day.

“The way to get to the bottom of this is to submit a public records request for every individual who requested an absentee ballot during the last three months and compare the names to the addresses.”

Wait said his group has learned from whistleblowers that the going rate for a fraudulent absentee ballot was between $10 and $80 in Wisconsin’s cities in 2020.

He said his group believes it has identified at least one “stash house” in the Racine area from which paid intermediaries, called “mules,” picked up completed absentee ballots and took them to drop boxes.

“As a citizen, I am disgusted and appalled with the continued systematic failures of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to secure our elections,” Wait said.

Schmaling said in his statement, “I am disheartened by the apparent vulnerabilities in MyVote Wisconsin that are ripe for fraud, and everyone—no matter their political leanings—should join in requesting a thorough, state-wide, investigation into this significant election integrity issue.”

The office of Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times by press time.

Steven Kovac
Reporter
Steven Kovac reports for the National Team from Michigan. He is a former small businessman, local elected official, and conservative political activist. Steven is an ordained minister of the Gospel. He and his wife of 33 years have two grown children. He can be reached at steven.kovac@epochtimes.us