Madison, Wisconsin (AP) – The Wisconsin Sheriff, backing former President Donald Trump, accused the state’s bipartisan electoral commission of breaking the law during last year’s election, taking the unusual step on Thursday of publicly detailing the charges, although no charges were filed.
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling has called on the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate the commission’s decision last year to ban local government from campaigning. to nursing homes to help residents vote during the pandemic.
The move is the latest example of Trump supporters seeking to undermine election credibility in the critical state of the battlefield President Joe Biden held last year. The sheriff said the state justice department has already said it has no plans to pursue the case.
In a 75-minute presentation that aired on his Facebook page, Schmaling detailed what he says is evidence obtained from the Ridgewood Relief Center in Racine County. Trump issued a statement urging his supporters to watch the presentation.
The former president mistakenly claimed he won Wisconsin, although there is no evidence of rigging that would translate his defeat nearly 21,000 votes in favor of Biden.
Schmaling said families of eight residents told investigators that they believed their loved ones did not have the right to vote, but ballots were cast for them. It is not known which of them voted for in the elections.
“I don’t know how and for whom they voted,” Schmaling said. “I didn’t ask because it doesn’t matter.”
An Election Commission, controlled by an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, voted 5: 1 in March 2020 to prevent polling workers from being sent to nursing homes to assist with the vote due to Governor Tony Evers’ order for safer homes. … Evers’ order closed all nonessential businesses at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order came at a time when nursing homes strictly limited the number of persons who could enter their institutions, often not even allowing immediate family members to enter.
State law requires local election clerks to send so-called special voting deputies to nursing homes to give residents the opportunity to vote. Attempting to make two visits, MPs may instead send absentee ballots to residents.
Audit issued last week, conducted by a non-partisan legislative audit bureau, determined that the commission violated the law when, in 2020, it ordered clerks not to send or attempt to send MPs to nursing homes. Instead, the commission ordered employees to send out absentee ballots to people in nursing homes who requested them.
Schmaling, Republican first elected sheriff in 2010 and backing Trump in 2020., stated that his call to investigate the actions of the commission was not politically motivated. He said his department only intervened after the daughter of a nursing home resident who did not think she could vote but thought she came to him with concern.
State Justice Department spokeswoman Gillian Drummond said all election fraud allegations are being seriously and thoroughly investigated, but it is important to note that the Racine County Attorney’s Office has not filed any charges. She said the Justice Department was not aware of any such allegations elsewhere in the state.
Only four of the more than 3 million who voted in the 2020 Wisconsin presidential race have been accused of electoral fraud, and none of these cases involve voting in nursing homes.
Wisconsin Electoral Commission Administrator Megan Wolfe said in a statement that the special ballot debate took place more than 18 months ago and was taking place in public meetings. She also referred to additional information on the topic, which is posted on the website of the commission.
Republicans, who have long criticized the agency they voted to create, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have called on Wolfe to step down following the sheriff’s accusations. She does not have the right to vote on the commission, and her initial action to end the special vote of MPs was supported by both parties.
The audit bureau’s report last week made 48 recommendations to improve the conduct of the elections, but did not find any widespread fraud or abuse that could affect the outcome of the election. Republican MPs said the audit showed the elections were “safe and secure,” even if mistakes were made.
Wisconsin is also under investigation by order of the Republicans. to an election chaired by former Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. Senate Republicans this week said they are also beginning to investigate issues raised by the non-partisan review.
This story has been updated to correct that the Racine County Sheriff’s name is Christopher Schmaling and not Charles Schmaling.