“In hindsight, I’d do it once more 100 instances over,” Wait mentioned.
Wait is the president of a gaggle known as HOT Authorities, which derives its identify from its pledge to advocate for “sincere, open and clear authorities.” He has used his platform for the final two years to query the state’s election legal guidelines and practices.
In July, he used a state on-line portal known as MyVote Wisconsin to request main ballots within the names of Meeting Speaker Robin Vos (R) and Racine Mayor Cory Mason (D) — two officers he has lengthy criticized. Mason’s poll was despatched to Wait’s dwelling in Dover in southeastern Wisconsin, however Vos’s was not. Wait mentioned he returned Mason’s unopened poll to county officers.
Quickly after requesting the ballots, Wait alerted the sheriff and prime prosecutor in his county to inform them what he had achieved and to supply himself up for arrest. Wait contended his capacity to make the request confirmed that the MyVote portal was flawed and known as for officers to close it down.
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling (R) advised Wait he wouldn’t arrest him and praised him for alerting the general public to the difficulty. Wisconsin Lawyer Normal Josh Kaul (D) quickly afterward introduced that the state Justice Division was investigating the matter.
On Thursday, Wisconsin Assistant Lawyer Normal Susan Happ charged Wait with two felony counts for the unauthorized use of personally identifiable info and two misdemeanor counts of election fraud. If discovered responsible on all prices, Wait may face a most of 13 years in jail and $22,000 in fines.
The felony grievance describes Wait as requesting ballots within the names of “Particular person 1” and “Particular person 2.” Different data, together with Wait’s personal feedback, reveal them to be Vos and Mason. The grievance says Wait ordered ballots within the names of others as properly, after getting permission from them. He isn’t charged with any crimes for ordering these ballots.
Wait has repeatedly acknowledged he did what the felony grievance alleges. He mentioned Thursday that he deliberate to initially symbolize himself and would argue that he didn’t violate the regulation as a result of he doesn’t consider the MyVote system is legally approved. Election officers have discounted his claims that the portal is legally invalid.
“You’ve obtained to do what you’ve obtained to do to guard the republic,” Wait mentioned. “What I did is a matter of document. I supplied the DOJ with the whole lot they should prosecute me. And I’ll stand in entrance of 12 jurors and see in the event that they agree with the DOJ.”
Utilizing MyVote, anybody can search for voters in the event that they know their names and beginning dates. As soon as logged in, they’ll order absentee ballots and ask that they be despatched wherever. That possibility is obtainable in order that voters who’re quickly away can have their ballots despatched to the place they’re staying.
Most voters in Wisconsin should present a duplicate of a photograph ID the primary time they request an absentee poll. Beneath state regulation, voters who say they’re indefinitely confined to their properties due to age or incapacity do not need to offer an ID. Wait used that operate to sidestep the ID requirement, he has mentioned.
Requesting a poll by MyVote generates an e-mail to the voter’s municipal clerk, who makes the final word choice on whether or not to ship a poll. The clerk in Mason’s neighborhood mailed his poll to Wait however the one in Vos’s neighborhood didn’t after checking the request. She mentioned she additionally stopped one other poll in Vos’s identify from being despatched abroad.
Voter fraud is uncommon. Final yr, the Wisconsin Elections Fee recognized 41 situations of potential voter fraud from primaries and elections in late 2020 and early 2021. That accounts for a tiny portion of the tens of millions of ballots forged in these elections.