False allegations of stolen elections continue as election commission cites minimal reports of fraud
Cases of illegal voting in the 2020 presidential election, whether by convicted felons voting or other violations of electoral law, have occurred a tiny number of times, according to a report from the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC).
On Wednesday, the six-member body held its quarterly meeting to consider the committee’s reports on voting irregularities and criminal voting. The body also discussed upgrades to e-voting systems and heard from staff on the commission’s plans to improve the system in the downtime ahead of the next major election cycle in 2022.
Reports of the fraudulent vote came as false allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump continue to emerge. run rampant through the Republican Party in Wisconsin and across the country.
Last week, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) announced he was hiring of three retired police officers to investigate the elections and see if there is a “fire” of electoral fraud and illegal actions arising from last year’s elections.
Many state and federal courts have already ruled that voter fraud was not a major problem in Wisconsin or elsewhere. And now, WEC audits show that the small number of problems that arose were not widespread enough to have overturned the election, which President Joe Biden won in Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes.
The WEC reported a preliminary match of 147 felons who voted in the 2020 general election. That number is expected to drop significantly as these preliminary findings are compared to actual voter records and possible errors are ruled out.
In the 2016 presidential election, there were 111 preliminary matches, but that number dropped to 79 after the matches were confirmed. In the end, there were only 12 convictions for felons voting in the 2016 election.
Republican-appointed commission members expressed frustration over the lack of charges laid by district attorneys once cases were referred to them and feared that criminals voting before their sentences were over could tilt the elections. Meanwhile, Democrat-appointed commissioners stressed that those votes were only a tiny percentage of the total vote.
Bob Spindell, a Republican commissioner who joined in the dissemination of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, said he wanted people released from prison to be informed that they cannot yet vote so that they do not accidentally break the law and have no more problems.
“All I’m trying to do is make signing up as difficult as possible for people to get into trouble and I think all the extra steps we’re taking in that direction are worth it, ”he said. “I suspect a lot of these people just didn’t know it, and I think we have a responsibility to try to help these people.”
But Dean Knudson, another Republican, feared the Criminals’ vote would overturn the results of a local election.
“You didn’t get it,” Knudson said when Democrats pointed out that this was a statistically insignificant number of votes. “We don’t just administer statewide elections, we administer all elections in which races are decided by vote. Sometimes there are ties, sometimes there is a very narrow margin. This happens during our spring elections for example, on many occasions, sometimes in legislative races, they are very close. Even though there have been, you know, tens of thousands of votes cast, it can happen that they are decided by a handful of votes. And that is why it is important that we take these seriously. The law is the law, and it is our job to uphold the law.
The commissioners also discussed a report on other electoral law violations last year. In the general election, there were only 12 reports of fraudulent voting and only one occurred in a county that opted for Joe Biden.
Many of these incidents occurred when one person voted both by mail and in person while others voted in several municipalities. A few other incidents involved people who had been found incompetent by a circuit court judge but still voted.
Like the votes cast by those still convicted of felony, Republican commissioners feared many of these cases would ultimately be charged by district attorneys.
“I don’t know if we need to have a whole new regulation or a whole new process or anything related to that, it’s up to district attorneys to decide if and who to charge,” Democratic Commissioner Ann Jacobs said. . “It’s literally their job and we send the information they need and they can choose to do with it whatever they want to do with it.”
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