Last week, the Racine County, Wisconsin sheriff’s office held a 75-minute press conference to announce the results of their investigation into absentee voting at residential care facilities. As reported here, the press conference showed that the Wisconsin Election Commission illegally directed municipalities not to “use the Special Voting Deputy process to service residents in care facilities,” but instead to “transmit absentee ballots to those voters by mail.”
That illegal directive resulted in apparent violations of election law by employees of the Ridgewood Care Center, a Racine nursing home. The evidence also suggests, at a minimum, the improper influence of elderly voters.
The significance of this story, however, spans much beyond the 72 counties comprising this midwestern state that broke by 20,682 votes to Joe Biden. Rather, an honest review of the evidence presented by Sheriff Christopher Schmaling and lead investigator Sgt. Michael Luell exposes three significances of national importance.
Breaking Election Laws With Impunity
First, Thursday’s press briefing exposed state officials’ utter disregard for election law and their inability to stop flagrant misconduct before elections. The WEC knew full well it was directing clerks to violate mandatory provisions of Wisconsin’s election code and so did the clerks, yet the lawlessness went unstopped.
Indeed, the WEC did act lawlessly, as is clear from the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau’s October 2021 report that stressed, “statutes set forth the exclusive means of absentee voting in person in residential care facilities and qualified retirement homes.” “A municipal clerk must appoint at least two special voting deputies to supervise absentee voting by individuals in such facilities and homes,” the report explained (emphasis added).
Yet not only did no one stop the WEC’s directive, unless someone steps up to prosecute those responsible for directing this apparent violation of election law, it seems unlikely there will be any consequences to the state election officials.
Not only are there no consequences, but there is also no outrage beyond a few on the right screaming into the void that election integrity matters. Meanwhile, the corrupt corporate media ignores the story and the left spins it, as Democratic Party of Wisconsin interim executive director Devin Remiker did, calling the press conference “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”
No wonder, then, we see election officials throughout the country blatantly ignoring the rules that state legislatures have established for elections.
A New Normal of Election Fraud
No one should take comfort in the fact that the press conference concerned last election cycle. The 2020 presidential election was not a one-off for election irregularities, but a test year for the new normal of election fraud—one perpetrated by election officials, instead of voters.
Election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia showcased this reality two weeks ago once the governor’s race there turned tight, by adopting a policy to ignore the statutory mandate that absentee ballot applicants include the final four digits of their Social Security numbers with their signature. Friday then saw a state court judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging that law, finding the plaintiff in the case lacked standing to sue.
With the election set for Tuesday and absentee ballots already returned, Virginia is destined to repeat the cycle seen throughout the country in 2020: violations of election law with no consequences.
If Laws Can Be Ignored, They Don’t Exist
A second lesson from Thursday’s briefing concerns the victims of the election fraud, in addition to every voter disenfranchised by a fraudulent vote.
The oft-repeated response to undisputed evidence that election officials ignored the law, or voters illegally voted in 2020, ran that the laws were mere technicalities. We saw that in Georgia with the secretary of state’s office Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling reportedly telling Atlanta’s WSB-TV, “The reality is these are normal, everyday Georgians who are just trying to exercise their right to vote in a very weird year,” after being confronted with evidence that one voter admitted he cast a vote in a county in which he no longer lived.
This response, of course, is wrong in its own right, as every illegal vote disenfranchises a lawful voter. What happened in Wisconsin, however, should penetrate the press and the public’s apathy to voter fraud because the targets were vulnerable seniors, moms and dads of everyday Americans.
Wisconsin’s election code and the requirement for SVDs sought “to prevent the potential for fraud or abuse; to prevent overzealous solicitation of absent electors who may prefer not to participate in an election; to prevent undue influence on an absent elector to vote for or against a candidate or to cast a particular vote in a referendum; or other similar abuses.”
Yet, once election officials dispensed with the SVDs, that is exactly what happened, with one former employee of the Ridgewood Care Center saying one senior who “voted,” “was ‘leery’ about signing her name because [she] was unsure if she was voting for the right people.”
A Nationwide Problem
This problem is also not limited to Wisconsin, with the American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) receiving tips of similar abuse of vulnerable voters throughout the country. The ACRU, the nation’s leading advocate for the protection of vulnerable voters, sees the abuse of elderly and vulnerable voters as a nationwide problem, and in 2019 launched a “Protect Elderly Votes Project” to protect elderly and disabled voters in residential facilities.
Yet even when it is a matter of protecting elderly and disabled voters, and even when presented with specific, detailed evidence of such elder abuse, leftist media ignores the issue, proving the corporate press just does not care about election integrity. The same holds true for Democrats whose response, instead of outrage, was to pretend this press conference was about Donald Trump.
“This is yet another attempt to attack our democracy and cast doubt on a free and fair election, in which Wisconsinites elected Joe Biden,” Wisconsin Democratic Party head Remiker said in response to the press conference.
No one knows, however, who the seniors voted for, as the Racine County Sheriff’s Office repeated numerous times on Thursday. The members of the WEC also come from both parties. In short, the only ones making election integrity about politics are the Democrats and the press.
Good Investigations Shouldn’t Be Rare
The Racine County Sheriff’s Office press conference exposed a third reality with national significance: The summary of the nearly year-long investigation illustrates how law enforcement officers who are serious about complaints of voter fraud handle a case. It contrasts starkly with the unserious response seen throughout the country by secretary of states’ offices, legislative bodies, and attorneys general.
In the moderate-sized Wisconsin county, Luell gathered evidence via subpoena, and interviewed family members, staff members, and local election officials. He pulled the voter applications and envelopes used for voting in the 2020 election, compared the participation rates to past elections, and looked to the potential victims’ records of voting going back to 2012. He also reviewed visitor lists, the governing provisions of the Election Code, and the WEC’s documents and proceedings.
In contrast, other states such as Arizona and Georgia, while conducting audits, have apparently failed to do the legwork necessary to follow-up on potential illegal voting or fraud. In both states, which also broke for Biden in 2020, there is solid evidence of illegal voting that could be easily determined by a thorough investigation. Yet to date there is no evidence that these states have launched the probes necessary to prove (or disprove) the concern.
Earlier this year, the Georgia secretary of state’s office confirmed they were investigating evidence of more than 10,000 voters illegally voting in a county in which they were not residents. Yet a request by The Federalist last week for the status on that investigation went unanswered.
Such an investigation should be simple, albeit time-consuming, as demonstrated when a local reporter in Georgia went knocking on doors to ask voters about their moves and where they voted, confirming the data provided the secretary of state’s office.
Maybe the Police Will Do What Others Won’t
Maybe, then, there is a fourth take-away from Friday’s press conference: Rather than depend on state officials to take election fraud and illegal voting seriously, the complaints should be handed to local law enforcement. That approach could work in Georgia. Given, however, that Democrats have already proven they don’t care about election integrity, the evidence will need to be handed to red counties.
That tactic might even have a second unintended but beneficial consequence: prompting Democrats to “retaliate” by lodging complaints with left-leaning police and sheriff’s departments. The majority of Republicans would welcome that development because election integrity matters no matter which “side” benefits from illegal voting or fraud.
Also, most Republicans don’t fear honest investigations into election fraud and illegal voting. That Democrats do is telling.