While Donald Trump and his followers continue to perpetuate the “Big Lie” that massive election fraud was the only reason for his loss to Joe Biden in last year’s presidential contest despite multiple audits and court rulings that disproved that purposeful fallacy, and while Republicans in Arizona and Georgia conduct still further desperate attempts to recount ballots until they get an outcome that they can accept, election officials in Wisconsin have revealed that they have found only 27 cases of potential voter fraud among the more than 3.3 million ballots cast in their state.
Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Wisconsin by more than 20,600 votes, so, if the disputed votes are eliminated from the final tally, there would be absolutely no effect on the outcome that determined that the state’s electoral votes be awarded to Biden.
According to documents obtained by the Associated Press through Wisconsin’s open records regulations, the 27 suspect voters’ identities have been forwarded to local district attorneys for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Sixteen of the 27 potential cases, more than half, occurred in a single city, La Crosse, and involved people who registered to vote using the address of a UPS mailbox rather than a residence, something that is illegal under Wisconsin law.
Some people with unstable housing situations often use USPS or UPS post office boxes to receive mail rather than having to file frequent change of address notices with creditors and financial institutions and risk missing delivery of crucial bills and notices.
In the remaining cases, four people cast ballots both in person and by mail; one was a convicted felon prohibited from voting; one was an absentee ballot mailed in by the son of someone who requested it but who also voted in person; three people voted in two different voting districts; one person returned two sets of absentee ballots; and one person voted despite having been declared incompetent and disqualified from voting.
Court records reveal that none of the 27 people involved have yet to have charges filed against them.
Since information on who the offending ballots were cast for is secret and because Wisconsin voters do not register by political party, it’s difficult to estimate whether the 27 potentially fraudulent ballots would have helped or hurt any particular candidate, but given the infinitesimal number of suspect votes, their effect would be negligible either way.
Despite the mere handful of documented cases of problematic ballots, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature have emulated their GOP colleagues in other states in proposing draconian bills that would restrict access to absentee ballots and institute other measures that critics say would place an unfair burden on voters and are designed to reduce turnout, particularly on population segments that typically lean towards Democratic candidates.
Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers is fortunately expected to veto any legislation that the Republican-majority legislature may finally pass.
According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Democratic lawmakers in the state are unsurprised by the low number of suspected incidents of fraud and are urging their GOP colleagues to face the reality that Joe Biden simply won more votes than Donald Trump.
“Whatever excuse the Republicans have for massive fraud in Wisconsin, it’s just simply not true,” state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) said. “It’s all based on ‘the big lie.’ They need to stop spreading ‘the big lie.’”
The experience in Wisconsin mirrors the low level of fraud found nationwide and makes a mockery of Republican efforts to try to reverse the results of the election and ensure that their own future victories are ensured through the passage of voter restriction laws and gerrymandering.
All the more reason that the U.S. Senate needs to pass their version of H.R. 1, the 791-page voting rights bill passed by the House in early March that would supersede local voting restrictions, prohibit partisan gerrymandering, shed light on dark money used to finance campaigns, strengthen government ethics standards and institute a public financing option for congressional campaigns.
A democracy without unfettered access to the voting booth (or mail-in ballots) is no democracy at all.
We must fight to stop GOP efforts to destroy the very constitutionally granted rights of every American citizen.
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