Racine sheriff says he found proof of felonies by Wisconsin Election Commission in 2020

NOW: Racine sheriff says he found proof of felonies by Wisconsin Election Commission in 2020

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says employees at Ridgewood Care Center helped 42 residents vote.

Schmaling held a press conference Thursday, Oct. 28, alongside eight individuals who shared concerns, claiming their loved ones did not have the mental faculty.

"Voicing her concern that the facility took advantage of her mother due to her mother's diminished mental capacity, and filled out ballots in her name," Sgt. Michael Luell said.

Schmaling says the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) knowingly broke state law. Election officials instructed nursing homes to allow staff to assist with voting. State law dictates only "special voting deputies" or family members are allowed to assist others with absentee ballots.

"The elections statute was in fact, not just broken, but shattered by members of the "WEC," Schmaling said.

The WEC said their election policy was discussed entirely in public meetings. They told CBS 58 the commission was following state and federal guidance that non-essential workers not be allowed in nursing homes to protect seniors from COVID.

A federal report found deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes jumped 32% last year.

"It's sort of handwaving away the fact that there was literally a federal and state prohibition against them entering the nursing homes," Wisconsin Election Commission Chair Ann Jacobs said. "I mean I'm not quite certain what he thought he needed to do. Have them bang on the door and push over the residents in their walkers to admit the special voting deputies?"

Jacobs said the WEC is no longer temporarily allowing nursing home staff to assist voters.

"What we said was those people still have a right to vote. And since special voting deputies were prohibited from entering, we needed to make sure that those people got to vote," said Jacobs. 

The Racine County Sheriff's Office said they have no reason to believe anyone intentionally influenced the ballots of the elderly.

Schmaling has not recommended charges to the Racine County District Attorney's Office, but has called on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to investigate state-wide.

Kaul sent CBS 58 the following statement:

“We’re confident that local law enforcement and District Attorneys in Wisconsin take voter fraud seriously and that, if there are credible allegations of fraud, they will be thoroughly investigated by local law enforcement. In the event that local law enforcement or District Attorneys need assistance in any case involving credible evidence of fraud, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is available to assist. 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.”
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