With a few clicks of a mouse this week, a conservative activist sent Wisconsin’s elections apparatus into disarray ahead of the Aug. 9 primary.
Harry Wait of Dover, Wis., said he requested absentee ballots in the names of two high-profile politiciansbe sent to his own addressto try to show voter fraud is easy to perform. He contacted local authorities Wednesday to detail what he had done and demand immediate changes, then told as many people as he could about what he considers a serious vulnerability.
The stunt showed that one person and a computer or smartphone could jolt the state’s elections system and forced election officials to weigh making changes to the state’s absentee voting procedures — and whether doing so would make it harder to vote.
It also drew the attention of law enforcement. A spokeswoman for Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) announced Friday his office was investigating the matter after consulting with Racine County’s top prosecutor.
The state elections commission — a body evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans — held an emergency meeting Thursday night to discuss what to do. The Republican chairman, Don Millis, asked whether changes could or should be made to the state’s online elections portal, MyVote Wisconsin.
Millis said he was worried Wait’s fraudulent ballot requests could lead others to do the same. The commissioners don’t have an easy way to prevent that, other than by telling the public that would-be fraudsters will quickly be caught and prosecuted.