Report shows 19 cases of voter fraud over two years, five elections, nearly 7 million votes

    Voters casting ballots. | Mario Tama/Getty Images
    Voters casting ballots. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

    In the six elections since the 2018 midterms, Wisconsin elections clerks have reported 19 cases of voter fraud, irregularities or violations, according to data released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

    In those five elections, the 2018 general, 2019 spring, 2020 February primary, 2020 April and 2020 August elections, nearly 7 million votes were cast in Wisconsin — making the rate of reported election fraud in Wisconsin 0.00027%. 

    The 19 cases the WEC reported yesterday only include cases that municipal clerks refer to their county district attorneys, which are then reported to the elections commission. Voter fraud in Wisconsin is a Class I felony that carries a maximum sentence of 3.5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. 

    The cases of fraud since the 2018 general election include four reports of a person voting in two municipalities in the same election, three reports of voting in-person and by absentee in the same election, seven reports of an undeliverable Election Day registration confirmation postcard, three reports of an individual providing an incorrect address on their voter registration, one report of a felon who attempted to register to vote and one report of an individual providing unspecified incorrect information on their voter registration. 

    The voter fraud report from the WEC comes as members of the Trump Administration, and President Donald Trump himself, have been pre-casting doubts on the results and security of this fall’s election. 

    Last week, Attorney General Bill Barr said at an event in Phoenix that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud and opens voters up to coercion. Over the last two years, voter fraud was reported in 0.00005% of absentee ballots cast. 

    Earlier this month, Trump encouraged voters in North Carolina to cast absentee ballots and then go to their polling place to vote in person. 

    “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said. “If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote.”

    Voting twice in the same election is illegal in both North Carolina and Wisconsin. 

    At a WEC meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Republicans on the commission expressed concern that voter fraud is a widespread problem because this list only represents reported cases. The commission’s chair, Democrat Ann Jacobs, said that the real issue for the six members was educating the public on the laws — especially in the face of interference from Trump. 

    “I would hate for anyone to take away from that, that there’s some sort of fault line within our absentee balloting system,” Jacobs said. “Given that our president has been encouraging people to go to the polls and try to vote when they shouldn’t be … And I think we should— it would behoove all of us in our dealings with the public to exhort them not to do that.”

    “But I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it is some sort of systemic failure in our system because it is not and people should not vote twice and anyone who’s out there listening, please don’t go to the polls and vote if you have mailed in your absentee ballots you’re not allowed to do that,” she continued.

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    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.