The Racine County Sheriff’s Office announced in November that it plans to forward election fraud charges against several members of the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) to the Racine County District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff Christopher Schmaling has recommended criminal charges against five members of the Wisconsin Election Commission, including election fraud charges after Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul failed to conduct a statewide investigation into WEC’s decision to suspend the Special Voting Deputy process required, according to a media release.
Sheriff Schmaling named the five commissioners as Margaret Bostelmann, Julie Glancey, Ann Jacobs, Dean Knudson, and Mark Thomsen. Robert Spindell, Jr., a Republican appointed to the committee, was the only commissioner omitted from the referral to County District Attorney Patricia Hanson.
The announcement comes after Schmaling and lead investigator Sgt. Michael Luell held a press conference alleging that the WEC broke the law when it suspended special voting deputies (SVDs) from going to nursing homes to assist with voting and opted instead for the regular absentee ballot process. Special voting deputies are appointed by local election clerks to assist with voting, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
Schmaling claimed that through the regular absentee ballot process, residents of a Mount Pleasant nursing home were then illegally coerced by staff into voting. Schmaling pointed out that some of the residents are cognitively impaired.
“We don’t want to stifle any vote,” Luell said during the press conference. “People have a right to vote, but we’re concerned that people were being taken advantage of.”
Luell also presented a case where a woman placed a complaint after learning her deceased mother voted in the November 2020 presidential election after passing away in October. In the affidavit filed with the WEC, the woman accuses the residential care facility her mother lived in of taking “advantage” of her mother’s “diminished mental capacity and filled out ballot(s) in her name.” Her mother was a resident at Ridgewood Care Facility.
Furthermore, Luell affirms that Section 6.875 of the Wisconsin election code requires SVDs to personally deliver ballots to residents and witness the voting process. Relatives or SVDs are allowed to help a resident with voting. After the voting process has been completed, SVDs must seal the ballot envelope and hand it to the clerk. Since SVDs were not requested to go to care facilities, Luell claims the WEC violated Section 6.875 entitled “Election Fraud.”
The WEC denies all allegations of illegal activity.