The Wisconsin Elections Commission released the statement below following reports of illegal and isolated attempts to obtain mail-in ballots through MyVote, the online voter registration and information website from Wisconsin:
There is no indication of vulnerability with the MyVote application. The idea that postal voting requests made online, via MyVote, are more susceptible to fraud is false. The MyVote web application requires a person to provide the same information they would provide if the person was requesting a vote by traditional mail or email. MyVote does not facilitate voter fraud than requesting a ballot by other methods.
Requesting or attempting to vote by mail on behalf of another person has long been and continue to be a crime. By law, a voter can only request an absentee ballot for themselves. In some cases, a person may be able to serve as an assistant with the explicit permission of a voter with a disability.
People who intentionally misuse the MyVote app may be subject to severe criminal and civil penalties. It is illegal to provide false information or to use another person’s information to illegally solicit someone else’s vote.
“To claim that committing a crime by submitting false information to obtain an absentee ballot somehow exposes a vulnerability in our system is inaccurate and irresponsible,” said WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe. “Intentionally using someone else’s identity to subvert the system does not demonstrate a flaw with MyVote, but rather a flaw with that person’s conduct. An evil person who chooses to impersonate someone Anything else to obtain official documents of any kind – whether for election purposes or any other purpose – clearly violates state and federal laws and could incur consequences.
“The WEC and your local clerk are constantly monitoring illegal activity and working with state and federal authorities to investigate all attempts to violate the law regarding access to mail-in ballots,” Wolfe continued.
WisconsinStat. paragraph 12.13(3)(i) states that no person may “false any statement for the purpose of obtaining or casting a ballot by mail”. WisconsinStat. paragraph 12.13(1)(d) states that a person who “impersonates a registered voter or pretends to be another person for the purpose of voting in an election” is breaking the law. A person who “falsely obtains the record or makes false statements to the city clerk, board of election commissioners, or other election official, whether under oath or not,” is also violating state law, for WisconsinStat. 12.13(1)(b).
A person can legally request, via MyVote or by mail, that their own absentee ballot be sent to an address different from their residential address if they plan to be away or if they do not receive mail at their residential address. This is an option whether you make your ballot request via paper request, email or via MyVote.wi.gov.
The MyVote app does not automatically send an absentee ballot to the applicant. Mail-in ballot requests made on MyVote generate an email to the respective voter’s City Clerk, who then determines whether the voter has provided the necessary and correct information to receive a mail-in ballot, including an exhibit. photo ID. To receive an absentee ballot by mail, a voter must either provide a copy of acceptable photo identification or the clerk must verify that there is one on the voter’s file at from a previous request.
As required by Wisconsin law, a person who certifies that they are confined indefinitely is not required to present photo identification; however, those who make this attestation do so under pain of the law.
Voter fraud remains very rare in Wisconsin. Even so, the state maintains several checks to ensure Wisconsin elections are safe and accurate, including recording every voter transaction in the state’s voter database.
Anyone with credible information that someone has fraudulently requested a mail-in ballot on behalf of another voter should contact local law enforcement or their local FBI office.
As always, voters can use MyVote.wi.gov to verify their own voter information, including whether a request to vote by mail has been made.