In Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, five people were criminally charged with felony voter fraud on Thursday. Their offense was, allegedly, using a post office box rather than a physical address on registration forms. The charges carry sentences of up to three and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and would suspend the right to vote of any person convicted.
One of the people charged was homeless, and living in his truck at the time; a married couple was reportedly living in an R.V. and traveling the country.
And only three out of the five voted in 2020.
During a press conference announcing the decision to seek criminal penalties, District Attorney Eric Toney was neither apologetic nor even particularly human in his demeanor. His justification for seeking prison time as a punishment for a paperwork error? “This is an important opportunity for education on this issue.”
“They would actually have to list where they would be residing even if that does not have a specific residential address,” Toney explained. “We want to make sure that people have the ability to exercise their right to vote, and that they do so legally.” The homeless fellow should have written in, for example, “the park bench at 1st and Main”.
However, according to Wisconsin state law, voter registration must be accompanied by proof of residence, which might be a driver’s license, a utility bill or residential lease, et cetera. In Wisconsin, a driver’s license can be issued on the basis of a post office box, but it is apparently illegal to register to vote from there. It was not explained how, exactly, a homeless person could both register to vote and verify the address.
“I don’t make the law; I just follow the law,” he said.
With respect to the 2020 election: “It is clear that would have had no impact on election results as far as who would have won.”
“This is not at all related to that… The role of a District Attorney is to enforce the rule of law, and for justice, not to pick and choose: What are we going to enforce? or What do we like and not like? We follow the rule of law.”
The information was sent in by a citizen, who made a criminal complaint. After investigation, local police referred the cases to the District Attorney, who, we’re given to understand, has the authority to decline to press charges.
Due to time constraints, D.A. Toney, who is presently running for election in the state Attorney General’s race, hasn’t been given the opportunity to respond before we go to press; we acknowledge this is rather unfair of us as we virtually burn him in effigy, and have sent an email to both the D.A.’s office and the campaign.
We would pose the following questions, both to the candidate and the official:
– How would a homeless person provide proof of address in order to register to vote via the park bench on the corner of 1st and Main under Wisconsin statute 6.34?
– How is this -not- a political stunt at the expense of the accused? Doesn’t the D.A.’s office have discretion to refuse to prosecute unreasonable charges?
The press conference can be viewed on YouTube by following this link.
Addendum: After we went to press, the D.A.’s office in Fond du Lac County provided The Not Fake News with the following information:
An excerpt from D.A. Toney’s statement with respect to the legislative proposal follows:
“As a district attorney that is prosecuting election fraud, I know it can take months after an election has occurred for the Wisconsin Elections Commission to refer criminal charges to local district attorneys, which is too late.
That is why Wisconsin must entrust local district attorneys and the attorney general to enforce election laws similar to how state ethics and open meeting laws are enforced. Current Wisconsin law grants standing to district attorneys and the attorney general by allowing any citizen to submit a verified complaint to them asking that an open meetings violation or ethics violation be filed in circuit court, including criminal ethics charges. Current law also allows a district attorney or the attorney general to file a mandamus, declaratory judgment, or injunction in some of these cases. This same approach is needed to ensure there is standing to protect the integrity of our elections because criminal penalties are insufficient and will often only address misconduct after the votes are counted.
In some circumstances, current state ethics law also allows the complainant to submit their complaint to a district attorney of an adjacent county if an ethics investigation is dismissed or not investigated by the district attorney with jurisdiction over the violation. Given the importance of our elections, Wisconsin must allow for similar enforcement of our election laws as we do for open meeting and ethics violations by allowing adjacent county district attorneys standing to act.”
If what you just read pisses you off, that’s not because it’s wrong. People are wrong every day and it doesn’t get to you. If you’re upset by this article, it’s because deep down you’re afraid it’s true.
No, The Not Fake News did not “get the memo” to “fall in line or else”; we’d find it hard to believe that anything else would be, financially, worse than this. We’re not shills of the public narrative; we don’t take marching orders from major media. We’re independent, and because we don’t get payoffs or even ad money, we’re poor but reliable.
You can send cash to PayPal in order to help support us, set up a subscription donation at Patreon, or buy us a coffee. Or not; your call. We don’t track who donates, so it’s guaranteed to not sway our opinions in the slightest.
NOTE: The image is of the traditional “Burning of Judas”, and (we’ve been assured by the German website we stole it from fair and square) is in the public domain. While we at The Not Fake News support free expression in political protest including, where lawful and appropriate, burning people in effigy or comparing a government official to Judas Iscariot, we draw the line at inciting actual violence. Don’t do this at home or without the proper permits, people — and don’t burn actual people, even would-be tyrants.
(In the interests of fairness with respect to the photo: We found a very similar image credited to a Mabel Flores at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mabel_de_todo_un_poco/452991791/ )