MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man who solid two absentee ballots within the 2020 presidential election has been charged with 4 felonies, making him the second individual within the battleground state to face expenses stemming from the election.
Former President Donald Trump has wrongly claimed there was widespread fraud in Wisconsin, a state that President Joe Biden received by just below 21,000 votes.
Prices of election fraud are exceedingly uncommon in Wisconsin, however there sometimes are a handful after each main election. The crime of election fraud is a felony.
Trump continues to make claims that the election was stolen, focusing on Wisconsin and different key swing states resembling Arizona. In that state, an Related Press investigation discovered 182 instances the place issues have been clear sufficient that officers referred them to investigators for additional evaluation. Up to now, solely 4 instances have led to expenses, together with these recognized in a separate state investigation. Nobody has been convicted.
In Wisconsin, the numbers are even smaller. However Republicans have ordered a evaluation by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and Meeting Speaker Robin Vos employed three retired police investigators to look into claims of “irregularities.”
Within the newest fraud case filed in St. Croix County, 64-year-old Michael Ray Total claims that his voting twice was unintentional, in line with the felony grievance filed June 16. Total, reached by cellphone on Monday, stated he has not employed an legal professional and reiterated that his voting twice was a mistake.
“Hell no,” he stated when requested if he meant to vote twice.
He declined to say who he voted for within the presidential election.
Total registered to vote in St. Croix County in 2007 however offered his home in 2019 and adjusted his tackle on his driver’s license to Beloit in Might 2020.
In accordance with the grievance, Total requested an absentee poll from St. Croix County in western Wisconsin on Oct. 5, 2020. It was mailed to a Rockford, Illinois, tackle. Per week later, on Oct. 12, he signed the absentee poll utilizing a Star Prairie, Wisconsin, tackle, which is in St. Croix County. The poll was obtained earlier than the election.
On Oct. 13, only a day after he signed that absentee poll, Total registered to vote utilizing a Beloit, Wisconsin, tackle, utilizing a automobile title as proof of residence, the grievance stated. On Oct. 27, Total voted absentee in individual at a voting location within the City of Beloit, in Rock County.
Total stated he was instructed by an election official in Rock County that his absentee vote there would cancel out his request for the St. Croix County absentee poll, which he stated he remembered filling out however not returning.
“I’ve obtained reminiscence issues,” Total stated Monday. “I can’t even bear in mind what day it’s.”
The investigator really useful charging Total with election fraud as a result of he had moved from St. Croix County in 2019 and adjusted his driver’s license tackle, however introduced an outdated driver’s license when making use of for the absentee poll there.
He faces one cost of voting by a disqualified individual; one cost of offering false info to an election official; one cost of registering to vote in multiple place; and of voting greater than as soon as. Every cost is a Class I felony punishable by a $10,000 and as much as 3 1/2 years in jail, or each.
Total is due in court docket for his preliminary look on Aug. 5.
His case comes after a Florida man was charged with election fraud in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, in March. Luke Aaron Frazier, 36, unsuccessfully tried to acquire an absentee poll for the November 2020 election by falsely claiming he was a resident of the village of Radisson. His case was not among the many 27 others that native elections officers forwarded to the Wisconsin Elections Fee, as state regulation requires.
Frazier is scheduled to be in court docket on Aug. 31 for a standing listening to.