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Wisconsin AG Candidate Can't Find Any 'Voter Fraud,' So He's Making Some Up!
Saving democracy from five people who registered at wrong addresses.
A Wisconsin district attorney hoping to ride paranoia about voter fraud into statewide office is pursuing felony election fraud cases against five voters because they registered to vote where they get their mail, not at a residential address as required by state law. There's no indication that the people impersonated anyone else or otherwise cheated in the 2020 election, but they do appear to have registered improperly. So Fond Du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney is throwing the book at the miscreants for their unspeakable misdeeds, for which they could each spend up to three and a half years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
It is not believed at this time that the five votes made the difference in the 2020 presidential election. At least one of those charged, Jamie Wells, 52, voted for Donald Trump after she and her husband registered to vote online, using the Fond du Lac UPS Store where they get their mail as their registration address. (Investigative Journalism nonprofit Wisconsin Watch didn't say how her husband voted.) The couple live in a 42-foot travel trailer so her husband can more easily work on farms around the state, so they have no fixed residence.
Under Wisconsin law, folks with no formal street address, like those experiencing homelessness, can still vote, but must document a location that could serve as a residence for voting purposes, not a post office box or commercial mailbox like UPS. If the Wellses generally park in one place when not traveling, that would count.
So sure, the Wellses improperly registered to vote. That's plenty for Toney, who said at June's Wisconsin GOP Convention that he should be state attorney general because of his reputation as
"one of the most aggressive prosecutors of election fraud" in the state.
"We've earned the right to have an attorney general that will stand up for us, enforce the rule of law, lock up dangerous criminals and protect the integrity of our elections," he said. "That is my track record as a district attorney."
You registered to vote at a UPS store? Unless you prove you live in the back, you'd better be glad the penalty's only prison, not the firing squad.
Wisconsin Watch notes that not only is voter fraud vanishingly rare in Wisconson, as in other places, it's also really unusual that anyone would be charged with felony counts of "falsely procuring a voter registration" for incorrectly registering. Out of 3.3 million ballots cast in 2020, elections clerks referred only 12 cases of suspected fraud to prosecutors, and they didn't include Ms. Wells or the four other people being charged by Toney.
The potential for throwing a lot of people in prison is certainly there, the story notes, since
There are 30 UPS Stores in the state, and 117 people have those addresses on their voter registrations. Additionally, a Wisconsin Watch search of 47 U.S. Post Office addresses in Dane and Milwaukee counties, where people can get a P.O. Box, found 44 voters registered at those addresses.
Weirdly, other county prosecutors don't seem to consider that a crisis. La Crosse County DA Tim Gruenke, a Democrat, told Wisconsin Watch he'd been told about 15 people using UPS Store addresses to vote, but he declined to prosecute, because like all Democrats, he loves voter fraud. Oh, wait, he said, "I'm not sure what kind of fraud would be happening." You see how society falls apart? It starts with letting little things like "technicalities" go unpunished, and before you know it, axe murderers are being given a warning not to put severed heads in the recycling bin and sent on their way.
Toney wouldn't agree to an interview with Wisconsin Watch about the prosecution of the five election terrorists, but he did send a statement explaining it would be unethical to discuss an ongoing case, but adding
"Elections are cornerstone (sic) of our democracy which must be defended at every turn, not just when you agree with the law or the politics," he wrote. "I want people (to) exercise their right to vote and ensure they do so lawfully. Wisconsin law requires someone to register to vote where they live, not where they receive mail. That is made clear on voter registration forms."
Thank God someone still cares about upholding the law, and also playing to GOP paranoia by pretending to crack down on "fraud."
Also, here's a fun little detail:
Toney has said the tip came from Peter Bernegger, a Wisconsin man who has since been fined $2,400 by the Wisconsin Elections Commission for making "frivolous complaints" — including the one against Wells.
Bernegger is no doubt a victim of the Deep State.
But wouldn't you know it, Wisconsin Watch found some "anything goes" radical socialist legal experts who suggested that aggressively prosecuting people to the fullest extent of the law for a wrong address might be a bad thing for democracy.
Marquette University Law school prof Atiba Ellis, who specializes in election law, said that making people afraid of "minor" errors might scare people away from voting, as if Republicans want just any eligible adult voting in the first place anyway.
On a prosecution where the level of wrongdoing doesn’t necessarily amount to a kind of criminal enterprise — and yet felony sanctions are what's on the table — that sends a message that our political system may not care about fair access and balancing the interest in access and the interest in security.
If a voter can't trust that an innocent error won't result in a felony conviction, that might make voters think twice about whether it's worth it to vote at all.
An "innocent error"? There is nothing "innocent" about trying to subvert an election with an improper address! The only legal way to subvert an election is with some crazy drunk attorneys and an armed mob, and the potentially felonious voters of Wisconsin better not forget it.
Ms. Wells said that 2020 was the first time she'd ever voted, and will probably be the last, too. If convicted and sent up the river for three and a half years, and bankrupted by the fines, she and her husband will be barred from voting until they've completed their sentences, including probation, if any.
Not that being prosecuted by an overzealous DA has necessarily made Ms. Wells the least bit skeptical about the bullshit myth of voter fraud being hyped by the likes of Toney. While she and her husband expect their legal bills to total around $17,000, and she has no plans to ever vote again, she appears to remain committed to the Big Lie. When a Fond du Lac detective interviewed her in January regarding the case, the criminal complaint says, she told him he should really be investigating the real fraudsters in Wisconsin, because "they took it away from Trump."
But there's some good news, maybe: Another law prof, Ion Meyn of the University of Wisconsin Law School, said that Toney's decision to slap felonies on the Wellses and the others were a "real abuse" of prosecutorial discretion, and added that to get a conviction, Toney would need to convince a jury that the couple knew they were ineligible to vote but registered anyway, not just that they put the wrong address in the online form and didn't pay attention to the line about using an actual residence. The story notes that "nothing in the criminal complaint alleges they were ineligible or knowingly misrepresented where they lived."
But heck, by the time this ever goes to trial — or not — the August 9 primary will be long over anyway, and the charges will have served their purpose. To, uh, educate voters to follow the law, of course. And the Wellses had damn well better not get caught teaching critical race theory, either.
[ Wisconsin Watch ]
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