Citizens’ Group Accuses Milwaukee Election Chief of Violating State Laws in Aug. 9 Primary

Citizens’ Group Accuses Milwaukee Election Chief of Violating State Laws in Aug. 9 Primary
Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Claire Woodall-Vogg delivers flash drives with absentee voter tallies from a central count location to election officials early Nov. 4, 2020. (Stephen Groves/AP Photo)
Steven Kovac

Citizen investigator Peter Bernegger has filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) alleging Milwaukee elections director Claire-Woodall-Vogg violated numerous state laws in connection with the recent primary election.

In the complaint lodged on Aug. 24, Bernegger alleges that on primary polling day a tent was set up by the city’s elections office in an alley between city hall and another downtown office building to serve as a mail-in ballot drop-off station.

Photos taken by an election observer obtained by The Epoch Times show the tent contained a folding table, a couple of camp chairs, and an open blue canvas bag full of mail-in ballots collected by two Department of Public Works employees.

Bernegger told The Epoch Times in an Aug. 25 phone interview:

“The entire operation was illegal. The actions of the two men demonstrate that they were not properly approved by a clerk and trained as election workers. They should not have been handling other people’s ballots.

A mail-in ballot return station in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Aug. 9, 2022 (Courtesy of Peter Bernegger)
A mail-in ballot return station in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Aug. 9, 2022 (Courtesy of Peter Bernegger)

“It is a violation of Wisconsin law and a grave breach of the chain of custody."

Bernegger said the workers verbally acknowledged to an investigator that they were DPW employees who volunteered to help with the election, and they had admitted to receiving no training.

The site was surveilled by observers from 5:20 p.m. until around 6 p.m. on Aug. 9.

Several photos show there were no secure ballot containers in or near the tent as required by law.

Bernegger’s team alleged the workers did not check the mail-in ballot return envelopes for the names of the person voting the ballot, his or her address, or the names of witnesses who are supposed to sign the envelope as required.

They noted that the workers asked no questions.

The workers allegedly kept no logbook to be signed off on recording how many mail-in ballots were received, the time of their reception, or other details mandated by law.

Observers said the two workers left the open bag of mail-in ballots on the table unattended multiple times as they went out to the street to meet motorists pulling up in their cars to drop off ballots.

When asked where they were taking the ballots when the bag was full, the workers allegedly told an investigator they were delivering them “up to Claire’s office,” where they would be provided with another empty bag to fill.

Investigators said the two men twisted the bags shut when they were full.

They alleged there were no locking devices of any kind used to secure the full bags of mail-in ballots as they were being transported from the alley into city hall.

The complaint alleges several other violations were committed in the alley incident, such as the selection of an improper location, lack of notification of the selection of the location, receiving mail-in ballots in a prohibited office, and causing others to flout Wisconsin statutes.

Bernegger, who is in a legal battle with Woodall-Vogg to compel her to release information from the 2020 election for examination by his group, told The Epoch Times:

Wisconsin election integrity investigator Peter Bernegger. (Courtesy of Peter Bernegger)
Wisconsin election integrity investigator Peter Bernegger. (Courtesy of Peter Bernegger)

“Wisconsin elections officials like Woodall-Vogg act in brazen disregard for the law because there are no consequences for their misconduct—zero punishment for their crimes.

“They could care less about being sued because they get free attorneys, courtesy of the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin citizens have the right to expect everyone to follow election laws so that we all can be certain our elections are secure, and the results are honest.

“Seeing what happened in that alley in Milwaukee, the common man cannot help but strongly question the complete lack of ballot security,” he said.

In his complaint, Bernegger asked the elections commission to declare null and void all ballots cast in Milwaukee in the Aug. 9 primary election.

He asked the commission to order that Woodall-Vogg be supervised by two independent observers in the conduct of her future duties and to direct her to follow state law and precedent.

“I will also ask the City of Milwaukee to terminate Woodall-Vogg’s employment,” said Bernegger to The Epoch Times.

Woodall-Vogg did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Steven Kovac reports for The Epoch Times from Michigan. He is a general news reporter who has covered topics related to rising consumer prices to election security issues. He can be reached at