Why Major Voter Fraud Does Not Happen in Wisconsin | Opinion
The reason major voter fraud doesn’t happen in Wisconsin is quite simple: The potential cost of trying to fool our democracy is far greater than any potential gain.
Just ask Michael Ray Overall, who claims he unintentionally voted twice in last fall’s election. Prosecutors do not believe him, claiming he registered to vote with a Beloit address just a day after signing a mail-in ballot that was mailed to St. Croix County, where he had not lived since 2019.
The 64-year-old, who does not say who he voted for in last fall’s presidential election, faces four crimes in St. Croix County for voting as a disqualified person, provided false information to an electoral official, having registered to vote in more than more than one place and voting more than once. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $ 10,000 and three and a half years in prison.
The mountain of human legal problems serves as a stark warning to anyone reckless enough to seek unfair advantage at the ballot box. It should also reassure the rest of us that our fair election system is protected.
Even if the courts find that Overall suffers from a bad memory, as he claims, and did not vote twice on purpose, it is clear: an extra vote is not worth a potential lawsuit.
The case of the set is one of 27 possible voting violations that Wisconsin election officials referred to local district attorneys in the Nov. 3 election. It may sound like a lot. But that’s only 27 out of nearly 3.3 million presidential candidates, a race decided by more than 20,000 votes.
Additionally, in 18 of those 27 cases, prosecutors did not lay charges, suggesting that the intention to commit fraud was unclear.
It all adds up to a well-run election, despite the long-refuted conspiracy theories and lies that former President Donald Trump and his prostrate minions in Wisconsin continue to shop around.
Representative Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, again this week called for a “full forensic examination” of the ballots cast in last fall’s presidential election. Brandtjen traveled to Arizona last month to witness the circus of electoral misrepresentation taking place there, such as whether bamboo fibers can be found in the paper of ballot papers to supposedly prove they are coming. from Asia. Even Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, joked about this ridiculous notion.
Brandtjen must get over Trump’s failed reelection bid nine months ago and stop wasting taxpayer dollars on redundant reviews. The votes were carefully counted. Then they were told in the Democratic strongholds of Dane and Milwaukee counties and proved, once again, to be correct.
Brandtjen’s latest conspiracy theory is that something was wrong with the election materials. But state officials have already audited electoral machinery after the 2020 vote – as required by a Republican-approved law – and found no significant issues that could have changed the outcome.
Brandtjen claims that “Liberal Partisan Clerks” have repeatedly failed to follow state election laws, but that’s not what our justice system, including Republican-appointed judges, has determined. They carefully and repeatedly determined that the election was conducted correctly.
Here is another “recent revelation” that Brandtjen sensationalized this week as “just plain outrageous”: Tens of thousands of new registrations and votes contained a name, driver’s license number or other data that did not match the information found in another government database. She claims that they “were then removed from the state system after their votes were recorded.”
The Wisconsin Election Commission promptly corrected Brandtjen in a statement. Discrepancies in voter data occur about 5% of the time and are easy to explain. About two-thirds, for example, occur because a name such as “Robert” does not match the shorter variation of “Bob”. Almost a quarter of the time, the letter or one of the 13 digits of a driver’s license number is entered incorrectly. Then there are typos.
The non-partisan Audit Office is already reviewing the election. At the same time, Vos wastes $ 72,800 of taxpayer money on a superfluous investigation while wondering aloud what Brandtjen’s investigation might prove. It is high time that Republican state leaders moved on, even if their stubborn, juvenile former president never will.
Wisconsin has a long and proud history of clean elections, and voters take their right and responsibility to vote seriously. Few people would be reckless enough to try and get away with electoral fraud in Wisconsin, where elaborate safeguards and stiff penalties are effective deterrents.