President of conservative group who fraudulently requested absentee ballot for Vos charged with election fraud
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Justice has charged the man who requested absentee ballots for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and others in an effort to show a purported flaw in the state’s ballot request process with four counts related to election fraud.
Harry Wait, 68, of Union Grove, is charged in Racine County with two counts of election fraud and two counts of unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information. Wait, the president of conservative group H.O.T. Government, reportedly admitted to fraudulently requesting absentee ballots for Vos, Racine Mayor Cory Mason and others.
A criminal complaint filed Thursday alleges Wait made the requests on July 26 while he was at H.O.T. Government’s booth at the Racine County Fair.
“Wait said he requested ‘five or six ballots, maybe seven,’ and he said he requested that they be mailed to his residential address on Shianne Street in Racine County,” the complaint reads. “Wait said he contacted some of the people to get their permission to request their ballots, but he further stated he did not get permission from Individual 1 nor Individual 2 to use their information nor request their ballots. Wait admitted that in doing so, and in checking the certification boxes on the website, he knew he was committing a crime. He further stated he would do it again.”
The document does not identify Vos or Mason by name.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that the integrity of our elections is protected from alleged intentional violations of the law,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a news release announcing the charges.
After news of the fraudulent requests surfaced, the Wisconsin Elections Commission approved sending a mailer to some absentee voters who listed a different mailing address than their voting address on their ballot request.
WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe argued the fraudulent requests did not show any inherent vulnerabilities in the ballot request system but were simply a criminal act.
In early August, the WEC said it did not believe anyone else had illegally requested absentee ballots.
The charges were filed despite the WEC declining to recommend Wait face criminal penalties.
An initial appearance in the case has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sept. 8, online court records show.
The WEC released a statement Thursday afternoon saying it stands by the MyVote website voters use to request absentee ballots.
The full statement reads:
“Decisions by law enforcement officials are completely independent of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which has no role in filing criminal charges.
“That being the case, it would be inappropriate for the Commission to comment further at this time on decisions by law enforcement entities to file charges for alleged election-related crimes.
“As a state agency, the WEC will assist law enforcement agencies as needed but has no role in pursuing or denying prosecution in any criminal matters, which is a responsibility that falls with law enforcement.
“The WEC stands by the integrity of the MyVote application. All forms of voting in Wisconsin, including by-mail absentee, are secure and reliable.”
News 3 Now has reached out to Vos and Mason for comment.
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