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Wisconsin Spotlight | Nov. 25, 2020

MADISON — The left will tell you conservatives are crazy. Election fraud is the tooth fairy. It doesn’t exist. 

It does, as evidenced again this week in Wisconsin. 

Christine Daikawa, 48, of Cedarburg was charged in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with one felony count of election fraud — more specifically, impersonating a voter — and falsely obtaining an absentee ballot, a misdemeanor. 

Daikawa is accused of turning in an absentee presidential election ballot for her life partner, Elizabeth Larson. The problem is, Larson, 58, died in July. 

Cedarburg City Clerk Tracie Sette, according to the criminal complaint, said Larson showed up deceased in her records when she attempted to enter her absentee ballot vote. Larson, according to to the complaint, had requested the absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 general election in March. 

The complaint states that Larson’s ballot envelope had been signed and dated Sept. 16, more than two months after she died. It was turned in on or around Election Day.  

Because Larson was listed as deceased in the elections system, her vote was not counted, records indicate. 

According to the complaint, Daikawa told investigators that she did not “mean to” submit the ballot, but then acknowledged that she had committed voter fraud. 

It’s the latest complaint of the voter fraud that liberals say doesn’t exist. 

As Empower Wisconsin reported in May, the Wisconsin Elections Commission referred 43 cases of double voting from the 2018 General Election to district attorneys in 19 counties. 

State statute prohibits anyone from intentionally voting “more than once in the same election.” Doing so is a Class I Felony, punishable by 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

News of multiple incidents of apparent voter fraud spurred more interest in a bill that demands consequences for those who want to cheat at the polls. 

Known as the “Double Voting Bill,” AB 897, and its counterpart, SB 795, requires the Wisconsin Elections Commission to refer to local district attorneys cases in which voters likely cast ballots more than once in the same election. The measure calls for, in some cases, the commission to forward complaints on to the Attorney General’s office. 

“It’s one of those things that should be in statute so that there’s no question about it. If you double vote, there has to be a consequence,” said Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Monomonee Falls). 

State elections officials, once again, shrugged off the 43 cases as a mere fraction of the approximately 2.68 million votes cast. State Sen. Dave Craig, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the problem is bigger than opponents of voter integrity laws like to admit. 

“Since the enactment of voter ID, we have heard from liberals year after year, election after election, when subsequent legislation comes forward to protect the integrity of our elections, ‘Where’s the proof of voter fraud?’ Here’s your proof.” Craig said. “I am heartened to know that justice will hopefully be served in a number of these situations.”

Yet, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass it. 

The Heritage Foundation’s  Election Fraud Database includes nearly 1,300 proven incidents of illegal voting from across the country. It is merely a sampling.

“This database is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list. It does not capture all cases and certainly does not capture reported instances that are not investigated or prosecuted,” the website notes. “It is intended to demonstrate the vulnerabilities in the election system and the many ways in which fraud is committed. In addition to diluting the votes of legitimate voters, fraud can have an impact in close elections, and we have many close elections in this country.”

In Wisconsin, the cases include everything from felons voting to double voting to forgery. Some incidents are more egregious than others.

For instance, Frank Edmund Walton was convicted in 2010 of falsely procuring voter registrations during the 2008 election, according to the database. While working for the left-wing Community Voters Project, Walton registered 70 voters, but only 16 of those registrations contained accurate information, according to court records. At least one contained information of a deceased voter.

In some cases, instances of voter fraud have resulted in elections being thrown out and rescheduled, according to Zach Smith, legal fellow in the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

But just one illegal vote compromises the integrity of the system, Smith said.

“Every fraudulent vote in fact dilutes the legally cast votes of eligible voters,” he said.

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