Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office charges Peggy West with Election Fraud
Updated 8:17 p.m. on July 19th 2018
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office has charged Peggy West with Election Fraud, a Class I Felony.
The decision to charge the former Milwaukee County Supervisor was made on Thursday.
The Milwaukee Police Department had investigated the complaint referred from the Milwaukee County Ethics Board regarding nomination papers circulated and filed by Ms. West.
The investigation into West started at the request of her opponent in the Spring election.
Sylvia Ortiz-Velez claims West illegally gathered signatures for her nomination papers, and says West’s name shouldn’t have even appeared on the ballot.
“In January when I turned in my nomination papers, as is typical I picked up a copy of my opponents nomination papers,” said Ortiz-Velez.
Those papers contained signatures that West had to collect to get her name on the ballot.
“It was very clear after looking at her nomination papers that some, there were several things that weren’t right,” said Ortiz-Velez.
Ortiz-Velez says that West claimed to have collected many of the signatures herself, but says there were just too many signatures collected in one day from too many locations.
Not only that, but Ortiz-Velez says there were too few signatures on too many pieces of paper. “On several, I think 9 to 11 different pages, and you don’t typically start and stop pages, three on one page, three on another, five on another if you’re one circulator,” she said.
Ortiz-Velez even met with some of the people with names on the nomination papers. She says the people either never met West, or described a completely different person who got their signature.
“Only certified electors in our state can circulate nomination papers, so if I’m a felon on probation, or I’m under the age of 18 or not a U.S. citizen, I cannot collect nomination papers,” said Ortiz-Velez.
Ortiz-Velez says without knowing who collected the signatures, she isn’t sure if they did it legally.
Ortiz-Velez won the election, but still thinks it’s important to follow through on this case.
“The problem really lies in the breaking of the public trust first of all, and the will of the people, and obviously it’s against the law,” said Ortiz-Velez.
Ortiz-Velez requested the investigation during the last election and charges were only brought recently.
We did reach out to West and her attorney but did not hear back as of the publishing of this story.