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Wisconsin Elections Commission tries to thwart fraudulent attempts to obtain absentee ballots

MyVote confirmation card sample.
Wisconsin Election Commission
MyVote confirmation card sample.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has taken several steps to address isolated attempts to show weaknesses with the system of mailing out absentee ballots to voters.

The commission's action this week comes after a small group of conservative activists, including in Racine, submitted false information to obtain absentee ballots in another attempt to show that fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin.

One man said he was Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in order to be mailed a ballot. In response, the Commission has announced efforts to ensure voting absentee is secure.

Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe says almost 4,000 postcards are going out to people who requested a ballot from their local clerk through the state's My Vote System and asked for that ballot to be sent to a different address than where they are registered to vote.

"And if that's what they intended when they made that request, then there's no further action that anybody needs to take. And that's where we expect the vast majority of people will be, when they receive that postcard. But it is a double check, in case somebody did not request the ballot, it will allow them to alert their clerk and to alert us at WEC, so we can work with law enforcement, and see that any fraudulent requests are canceled and that voter is able to participate in Tuesday's election," Wolfe says.

Wolfe also says Elections Commission staff will monitor for multiple ballot requests from the same source, and increase communication with local election clerks who will try to cancel suspicious requests. There will also be warning messages on the My Vote system reminding people they could be subject to a fine or jail term for submitting false information.

Wolfe won't say if the Commission wants law enforcement and prosecutors to go after people who filed the false requests. But she says staff will cooperate with investigators.

"We have really detailed records about all the requests that were made in the system, and we're able to provide that information to authorities that do have that ability to further investigate and decide whether or not charges are appropriate," Wolfe says.

Wolfe says the deadline has passed to request an absentee ballot by mail for Aug. 9 primaries. About 375,000 ballots have been issued. A much larger number is expected to go out for the November elections.

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