Municipal clerks in Wisconsin made 22 voter fraud referrals to local district attorneys related to the 2020 general election over the past two years, according to Wisconsin Elections Commission reports.
The new report from the July 22 commission meeting showed 10 instances of voter fraud referrals from the 2020 election. Last year, it listed 12 cases.
Most of the complaints this time involved people double voting—once in person and once by mail. Others were for impersonating another voter and double voting in two different cities.
A similar pattern was reported in the June 2, 2021, commission meeting. It showed that most of the 12 referrals stemmed from double voting in two cities. Some voted twice—by mail and in person.
The commission submits the reports to the state legislature on an annual basis. They are limited to what clerks report to the commission and don’t include any complaints filed by citizens or organizations directly with a district attorney.
This year’s report showed 73 instances of criminal referrals for voter fraud in multiple elections and those during 2021 and 2022.
Most came from Milwaukee and Brown counties, including more than 50 instances of a person using an improper residential address on their voter registration in multiple elections.
Mike Mikalsen, chief of staff for state Sen. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), told The Epoch Times the reports demonstrate a weakness in the voting system that Republicans are trying to correct.
One potential problem with election security was settled July 8 when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that drop boxes were illegal, he said.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission made an arbitrary decision to allow permanent drop boxes in the 2020 general election during the pandemic, but many questioned the legality of the boxes.
True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht testified before a Wisconsin legislative committee this spring, concerning absentee ballots being systematically delivered to drop boxes in the Milwaukee County area.
“They were illegal,” Engelbrecht told The Epoch Times when referring to the drop boxes. “What happened in 2020 was lawlessness.”
Mikalsen said the drop boxes allowed for a vote harvesting bonanza during the 2020 election because of readily accessible information showing who had requested an absentee ballot. That made it easy for campaign workers to visit those people and potentially collect ballots not yet delivered.
Democrats in the state criticized the ruling, saying it makes it harder to vote and undermines free, fair, and secure elections in a democracy.
While some of the cases outlined in the election commission report may stem from people mistakenly thinking their vote didn’t count because they moved to a different address, others were likely purposeful.
Under Wisconsin law, voting twice is against the law regardless of intent, Mikalsen said but noted that the damage couldn’t be undone.
“Eventually, these double votes are caught after the fact. Both ballots get counted,” Mikalsen said.
Even with drop boxes eliminated, there is a vulnerability with absentee ballots that anyone can request.
Voting is a two-week process in Wisconsin, so absentee ballots are mailed out about a month before the voting period begins.
Mikalsen explained that a large number of ballots are circulating for weeks before the election, which leaves the system open to potential fraud.
Another problem is that prosecuting election fraud is at the discretion of the district attorneys representing each of the 72 counties.
Mikalsen said that concern about election fraud in districts varies, as does the likelihood of prosecution.
“It does raise accountability issues with a lot of people,” he said.
Tightening up voting regulations depends on if a Republican governor gets elected this year, he said.
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has refused to sign Republican-backed legislation to remedy vulnerabilities in the election system, he added.
“We are in a difficult circumstance here in Wisconsin because we will have to fight a lot of these issues out in the courts, and that takes time,” he said.