Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling announced today the results of an investigation into election law problems in Racine County and Wisconsin.
“Election statute was in fact not just broken, but shattered by members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” Schmaling said.
Schmaling and Sgt. Michael Luell, who led the investigation, said that they determined that eight people were living at the Ridgewood Care Center who had diminished capacity and who couldn’t even recognize family members at the Ridgewood Care Center had nonetheless voted by mail-in ballots. The investigation began on the complaint of one woman who said her mother voted despite not even being able to recognize her and beginning to hallucinate.
Schmaling said that they might forward recommendations to the local DA but that they actually wanted a statewide investigation because they believed the problem was greater than in the one home but Luell’s investigation so far had only pertained to the one home.
They claimed the Wisconsin Elections Commission broke the law when it told towns that they didn’t have to follow state law requiring “Special Voting Deputies” to go into the nursing homes to ensure that those who wanted to vote could vote. Those deputies are generally bipartisan and then can also obviously see that the actual person is voting for themselves.
That law was waived by a bipartisan vote of the WEC throughout 2020, which the RCSO alleges is illegal and should be considered “election fraud” under Wisconsin statute. According to the investigation, staff members acted as SVDs, even though state law was supposed to have prohibited this.
Luell played a recording of one of the Commissioners on the WEC admitting that they would be telling clerks to break the law if they did this.
Luell alleged Thursday that not only did the WEC advise that laws be ignored, but also that they failed to find alternatives to traditional SVDs to ensure that people who wanted to act as SVDs could do so in the interest of election integrity. He pointed out that the WEC has been meeting virtually for months, but never advised that perhaps SVDs could also do their work virtually.
Luell also reviewed visitor logs from the facility throughout 2020 that found dozens of non-employees and non-residents, such as maintenance workers and those coming in for interviews and at least one DoorDash food delivery driver, were allowed into the building throughout 2020, but no exceptions were made for SVDs.
Schmaling said that he’d contacted the Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, but Kaul declined to investigate.
In response today, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, run by Kaul, said:
“Here, DOJ was previously in contact with Sheriff Schmaling, and DOJ advised that certain interviews be conducted that had not been at that time. Significantly, no charges have been filed in this case by the Racine County DA’s office. DOJ is also currently not aware of similar allegations anywhere else in Wisconsin.”
Schmaling said they’re just trying to hold people accountable and that there were clear violations of the law.
Will anything be done to follow up on these questions? It’s not clear, but it obviously raises the greater question of varying from the state election law which isn’t supposed to happen. That creates a problem if it’s done across the state as it allegedly was done here in regard to nursing homes in terms of allegedly not having the SVDs.
As we noted in the recent situation in California where Governor Newsom was trying to dictate election law, that’s specifically a legislative function that’s not supposed to be assumed by others, even the governor.
Luell only looked at the one home so they don’t know how widespread problems might be, but that’s why they really should have an investigation to determine it and that’s likely why they probably went public with it so anyone who might have concerns would be aware they were looking into the question.