By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The Wisconsin Elections Commission has referred 43 cases of suspected double voting to district attorneys in 19 Wisconsin counties.
State statute prohibits anyone from intentionally voting “more than once in the same election.” Doing so is a Class I Felony, punishable by 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The criminal referrals were announced late Tuesday afternoon after Empower Wisconsin requested the list of the individuals alleged to have engaged in “cross-state voting” in the November 2018 general election. After several hours, agency spokesman Reid Magney sent a curt email stating, “This is what I can release today.” He included the commission’s press release. It did not include the names of the suspects.
Suspects were tracked through the state’s Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which discovered a data set of possible cross-state matches, the press release notes. Following staff analysis, the Elections Commission (made up of three Democrats and three Republicans) voted 5-0 at its Feb. 27 meeting to make the referrals. One member was absent.
“The WEC analyzed the possible matches by comparing names, dates of birth and other information from voting records in Wisconsin and other states,” the press release states. Commissioners approved the matching process at its public meeting in December. The commission met in closed session February 27 to review all the cases before voting to make the referrals.
Commissioner Bob Spindell, Jr. told Empower Wisconsin he hopes prosecutors in the counties where the fraud allegedly occurred will thoroughly investigate the complaints.
“Hopefully by our making this public announcement of what we’re doing we will sway other people from deciding they want to vote twice,” said Spindell, a Republican-appointee and newest member of the six-member commission. “This is worth an investigation by the district attorneys.”
As it does anytime voter fraud is mentioned, the commission stressed that the 43 cases of alleged double voting make up just a fraction of the approximately 2.68 million votes cast. Election fraud monitors say the problem is more widespread than regulators claim.
The Elections Commission notes the Voter Participation Reports are a new data set available to ERIC member states.
“The 2018 General Election is the first election for which this data was available,” the press release states.
ERIC, of course, is the same system that liberals have blasted in defense of the state’s bloated voter rolls that potentially include some 200,000 names of voters who have moved. The Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty has filed a lawsuit against the commission alleging that it is not following state law and needs to purge the voter rolls of those voters suspected of changing addresses.
A Madison liberal appeals court rejected a lower court’s ruling that agreed with the plaintiffs and threatened the commission with fines for not following the court order. The District 4 Court of Appeals ordered the voters names will remain on the rolls.
The case will most likely next move to the state Supreme Court.
Liberal groups and politicians have insisted the ERIC system disenfranchises voters by incorrectly labeling some as movers. The system’s latest discovery of possible double voters, however, could provide more evidence of its effectiveness in doing what the Elections Commission is supposed to do: Protect the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections.