Gableman appears in court to represent man accused of fraudulent ballot requests

By: - September 19, 2022 5:32 pm
Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman leads the partisan review of the 2020 election. (YouTube | Office of the Special Counsel)

Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in a video promoting the partisan review of the 2020 election. (YouTube | Office of the Special Counsel)

Michael Gableman, the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who spent a year fruitlessly searching for evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, appeared in Racine County court on Monday to represent a man facing criminal charges for alleged fraudulent requests of other people’s absentee ballots. 

Until August, Gableman was running a probe into the 2020 election on behalf of the state Assembly and its Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). Vos fired Gableman after the former justice endorsed Adam Steen, Vos’ opponent in the August primary election. Vos very narrowly defeated Steen and called Gableman, who he hired, an “embarrassment to the state.” 

Gableman spent more than a year searching for evidence of fraud in the 2020 election but his review resulted in little more than lawsuits over his failure to produce public records showing how he spent taxpayers’ money. Multiple lawsuits, recounts, reviews, audits and investigations have affirmed that Joe Biden won the 2020 election in Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes. 

In a video, Harry Wait holds up absentee ballots he requested on behalf of other people. (Screenshot)

On Monday, Gableman appeared in court on behalf of Harry Wait, a 66-year-old Racine County man who has admitted to requesting absentee ballots in the name of Vos and City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason. Wait said online he made the requests in an attempt to prove that the state’s online voter registration and ballot request system, MyVote, is vulnerable to fraud. 

Elections officials have said Wait’s request of the ballots is only evidence of a crime, not evidence that the system is vulnerable. Voter impersonation using an absentee ballot would be detected as soon as the person being impersonated attempted to request an absentee ballot or vote in person. Furthermore, in order for this form of voter fraud to be used to meaningfully change the results of an election, voter impersonators would need to know that the people they are impersonating are registered to vote with their IDs loaded into MyVote yet did not plan on voting in an upcoming election. 

Fraudulent requests made through MyVote can be tracked by election officials through the IP address of the computer used to make the request and the address the ballot gets sent to. 

Wait is the president of an election conspiracy organization known as H.O.T. (honest, open, transparent) government. The group has been active in right-wing efforts to cast doubt on the 2020 election results. 

Wait has been charged with two felony counts of misappropriating identification information and two misdemeanor counts of election fraud concerning absentee ballots. Each felony carries a maximum sentence of six years imprisonment and each misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment. 

On Monday, Wait was set to appear for a preliminary hearing. He’d initially stated his intention to represent himself in court and had made his initial appearance earlier this month without legal representation. 

Gableman said he learned about Wait’s case over the weekend and reached out to offer legal assistance after learning Wait was representing himself. In court, Gableman successfully had the preliminary hearing rescheduled for Oct. 7. Gableman said he only planned to represent Wait for Monday’s court appearance and the October preliminary hearing while the duo looked for more permanent legal counsel. 

“I want to make sure all of his legal rights are safeguarded,” Gableman said.

Since being fired by Vos, Gableman has been working with the Thomas More Society, a right-wing organization that has been heavily involved in election denial in Wisconsin. Gableman said in court he had not been cleared by the group to represent Wait through the whole criminal process. 

Wait’s H.O.T. Government and Gableman have frequently used similar rhetoric about the need to “take back” the country. Earlier this month, Gableman appeared at an event hosted by the Republican Party of Outagamie County and said he believes revolution is the “only way to keep an honest government,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.