In Georgia, Wisconsin, investigations into 2020 ballot accidents are heating up

Georgia and Wisconsin are advancing investigations into allegations of widespread illegal ballot picking in the 2020 election and delving deeper into allegations of voter fraud more than a year after President Biden took office.

The investigations are examining reports of payments to ballot collectors, “mules” dropping multiple ballots at various mailboxes, coercion of voters in nursing homes to hand over ballots, and bribing local polling officials to increase Democratic turnout.

Georgian election officials intensified an investigation into ballot extraction – when a third party collects and submits a voter’s ballots – by authorizing subpoenas to conduct their investigation.

The subpoena is being used by Elections Committee investigators to try to get an interview with an anonymous witness who claims he was paid $10 for every ballot he submitted to various dropboxes, which against a Violating Georgia law that allows the voter or their close relative to cast a ballot.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who oversees the state’s elections, pledged to investigate allegations of ballot-picking.

“On my first day in the Secretary of State’s office, I campaigned to ban ballot collection in Georgia and continue to advocate for a national ban. I am determined to investigate any evidence that it may have happened. Our investigation will be thorough and will follow every lead until everyone guilty of ballot-tapping is justly punished,” Mr. Raffensperger said in a statement to The Washington Times.

In Wisconsin, Republican state lawmakers are investigating allegations of illegal ballot picking, coercion of voters in nursing homes and open bribery by private groups trying to increase Democratic voter registration.

Lawmakers have invited top officials from conservative voting rights organization True the Vote to testify at an election hearing on Thursday. True the Vote claims there is evidence of widespread voter fraud that took place in six states during the 2020 election.

True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht is scheduled to testify before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, where, according to one Republican, she is expected to “drop a bombshell” that her organization has significant evidence that people were paid to stuff dropboxes Wisconsin in 2020.

Ms. Engelbrecht told the Washington Times she will be presenting geospatial data, which is a form of advanced and detailed cell phone tracking, from Green Bay, Milwaukee and Racine counties. The data shows evidence of 100 so-called traffickers in each county who visited about 10 or more ballot boxes in the two weeks leading up to the 2020 election.

Engelbrecht said the data found 100 people in Milwaukee County alone “who fit this pattern and went to 10 or more drop boxes.”

She said the effort to reconsider the 2020 presidential election is to increase the integrity of the future election, not to re-litigate Mr. Biden’s victory.

“We simply let the data do the talking,” says Ms. Engelbrecht. “Are these ultimately crimes we are looking at? From the pattern, we can clearly see that dropboxes are being abused, suggesting that you shouldn’t have dropboxes.”

Wisconsin does not prohibit ballot collection. It’s one of 13 states that doesn’t say whether anyone other than the voter can return a ballot, according to data compiled by website Ballotpedia.

The GOP-led Wisconsin state legislature passed legislation restricting the practice in 2021, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed it.

Georgia tightened the state’s ballot collection law in 2019 after 11 other states restricted the return of ballots to the voter, immediate family member, or another household member.

Another 24 states and the District of Columbia allow voters to designate someone to return their ballot. In Alabama, only the voter can return a ballot.

There is no video evidence of alleged ballots in Wisconsin that True the Vote has been able to obtain. The organization has videos, some of low quality, of suspected poll traffickers filling drop boxes in other states, including Georgia, she said, where 242 people were followed visiting multiple ballot boxes.

State investigations in Wisconsin and Georgia are gaining momentum, despite criticism that such investigations fuel unrealistic beliefs that widespread fraud will be proven and Mr. Biden’s election victory will be overturned.

The ongoing state investigation is being hailed by former President Donald Trump, who continues to claim the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats. Mr Trump told supporters at a rally earlier this month that he had won the election, although the official tally shows he lost by more than 7 million votes.

In Wisconsin, a statewide recount and multiple court rulings have upheld the 2020 election results showing Mr. Biden won the state by 21,000 votes, or less than 1% of the votes cast.

Georgia conducted two recounts that saw Mr Biden beat Mr Trump by around 12,000 votes, also less than 1% of the votes cast.

Election skepticism persists, thanks in part to True the Vote and others who claim there has been widespread and coordinated fraud.

True the Vote’s website is prominently promoting a documentary on voter fraud it produced with conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza, due for release in May.

A trailer for the film teases “explosive new surveillance footage of ballot boxes” and shows video footage of “a mule … making 53 trips to 23 ballot boxes.” Mr D’Souza says the film followed 2,000 “mules” involved in ballot harvesting “in every key state”. [where] the election has been decided,” including Georgia and Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos commissioned a state investigation into irregularities in the 2020 election that found evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state’s nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. The report, issued by the Office of the Special Counsel earlier this month, also accused an outside group sponsored by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of bribing local election officials to increase voter turnout in Democratic strongholds.

Mr. Vos, a Republican, met last week with a group calling for Wisconsin officials to decertify the 2020 election results, prompting outrage from Democrats, though Mr. Vos has repeatedly said decertification cannot happen.

“Basically, they’re trying to convince us of the scam,” Mr Vos told reporters after the meeting. “I already believe fraud has taken place.”

Democrats say the OSC report is biased, noting that chief investigator and former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is a Trump supporter who declared the election stolen before Mr Vos appointed him to lead the investigation.

State Assemblyman Mark Spreitzer told WISN from Wisconsin he was concerned about the ongoing investigation and accused Mr Vos of “trying to throw red meat at his base”.