by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 17, 2022) — Approximately one year ago, the non-profit organization Look Ahead America, staffed primarily by volunteers, published a 25-page report on election data gleaned from Wisconsin’s 2020 general election demonstrating that a minimum of 157,000 invalid votes were cast on November 3 that year.
Following months of research, in its report the group identified seven categories of “illegal ballots” whose numbers totaled nearly eight times the difference between the two presidential candidates reported by the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) in final election results.
The organization also focused on the states of Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, publishing follow-up data similar to Wisconsin’s on July 14.
As of last week, LAA reported that its analysis of Georgia’s election returns and subsequent referrals to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger led to “at least five official election related investigations.”
“At last our claims are being taken seriously and investigated,” an LAA press release dated July 11, 2022 states. “This doesn’t just clean the voter rolls but gets at the root of election vulnerability: registrations validated at the Department of Motor Vehicles in all states appear to be a common denominator, which we first discovered in Wisconsin.”
The initial Georgia report, dated April 19, 2021, can be read here, with an update released July 30, 2021. In late June last year, LAA reported that Raffensperger “validates LAA method for detecting fraud, but probably botched it and removed legit voters” after allegedly having “lied about it both to President Trump and in public statements.”
Two weeks earlier, Raffensperger announced he would remove about 100,000 “ineligible” names from the state’s voter rolls.
On July 7, 2022, LAA released a 151-page report building on last year’s Wisconsin findings containing the responses of municipal clerks following their receipt of LAA’s evidence of voting irregularities and requests for investigations.
The categories LAA identified this year are ballots apparently cast by individuals who voted in Wisconsin after having changed their permanent address to another state; those who utilized a P.O. Box or other non-residential address to register to vote in violation of Wisconsin law; those who claimed “indefinite confinement” under a provision of the state’s “absentee ballot” statute under what appeared to be questionable pretenses; and individuals who registered to vote in another state but then voted in Wisconsin in 2020.
Sources used, LAA Research Director Ian Camacho told us in an interview Thursday, were the National Change of Address (NCOA) list produced by the U.S. Postal Service; the complete Wisconsin voter database obtained from the Wisconsin Election Commission for a fee; MyVote, a free online service of the WEC; the website voteref.com; property and other public records as well as social media.
Although on its website referring anyone claiming to have witnessed election fraud to local or federal law enforcement, the WEC is responsible for investigating cases of “Suspected Election Fraud, Irregularities or Violations” as reported by the state’s election clerks. A report directed to the clerks of the Wisconsin House of Representatives and Senate dated October 7, 2021 reveals 19 instances of improper voting ranging from the 2016 spring primary to the 2021 primary.
The WEC’s report on an audit of the state’s voting equipment following the 2020 presidential election states:
Over 6 days in November, county and municipal clerks directed the hand tally auditing of more than 145,000 ballots from the November 2020 General Election. The findings of the 2020 Post-Election Voting Equipment Audit showed that there was no evidence that any voting equipment subject to audit and used in the 2020 General Election in Wisconsin changed votes from one candidate to another, incorrectly tabulated votes, or altered vote totals in any way. The concerns identified in this report do not represent programming errors, unauthorized alterations or “hacking” of voting equipment software
or malfunctions of voting equipment that altered the outcome of any races on the ballot. They do, however, highlight the limitations of electronic voting equipment and underscore the necessity of comprehensive administrative procedures required to ensure the effectiveness of voting equipment used in Wisconsin elections.
The WEC found instances in which two voting machine types registered “overvotes” and recommended, then saw implemented, a reprogramming of the machines such that it reduced the area of the ballot to be scanned for tabulation to avoid the problem area affected by a crease.
In light of its findings, page 6 of LAA’s follow-up Wisconsin report contains the following disclaimer:
While this report identifies many illegally cast ballots and the names of ineligible voters in whose name those ballots were cast, it does not allege that those persons necessarily cast the illegal ballots. Determining who cast a ballot, legal or otherwise, particularly as a private, non-governmental organization, proves nearly an impossible feat.
Voter registrations referred to election clerks bearing a P.O. Box, UPS store address or other non-residential address as a residence had already escaped flagging by the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and WEC, Camacho explained during our interview.
On page 6 of the new report, LAA noted that “the Office of Special Counsel’s report later validated our finds regarding indefinitely confined,” referencing Special Counsel Michael Gableman, a legislatively-appointed retired state supreme court judge tasked with investigating claims of widespread election fraud in the Wisconsin’s 2020 election.
In a report dated March 1, 2022, Gableman wrote that the WEC “unlawfully encouraged evasion of ballot security measures related to ‘indefinitely confined’ voters at the behest of outside corporations” (p. 96).
Gableman, who reportedly attended a screening of the Dinesh D’Souza/Salem Media production, “2000 Mules” at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, has been criticized for running a “sham” investigation and allegedly wasting taxpayer dollars on such items as out-of-state travel to Arizona to observe an election audit in Maricopa County last year. Gableman and Wisconsin Speaker of the House Robin Vos are currently facing several lawsuits from the group American Oversight for reportedly failing to timely release documents in response to public-records requests.
On Friday, Wisconsin State Journal reported that “Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who last year hired former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to lead a one-party review of the 2020 election, has again been ordered by a Dane County judge to produce requested public records related to the taxpayer-funded probe.”
In a ruling issued July 8, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court opined that outside drop boxes, used extensively throughout the state in the wake of the COVID-19 “pandemic,” “are illegal because a voter must personally mail or deliver in person the voter’s absentee ballot to the municipal clerk, not to an inanimate object” (pp. 5-6).
Further, the court stated, WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe, who is not a commission member per se, issued two memos which the commission never approved instructing election clerks as to how to establish and monitor outside drop boxes, which numbered 528 during the 2020 election and 570 in the 2021 primaries.
The Court upheld the opinion of a lower circuit court which first reviewed the case and found:
WEC’s interpretation of state statutes in the Memos is inconsistent with state law, to the extent they conflict with the following: (1) an elector must personally mail or deliver his or her own absentee ballot, except where the law explicitly authorizes an agent to act on an elector’s behalf, (2) the only lawful methods for casting an absentee ballot pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 6.87(4)(b)1. are for the elector to place the envelope containing the ballot in the mail or for the elector to deliver the ballot in person to the municipal clerk, (3) the use of drop boxes, as described in the Memos, is not permitted under Wisconsin law unless the drop box is staffed by the clerk and located at the office of the clerk or a properly designated alternate site under Wis. Stat. § 6.855.Pages 8-9
According to public reporting dated July 12, the WEC “couldn’t agree Tuesday on what guidance, if any, to give the state’s more than 1,800 local clerks to help them understand how to implement a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling outlawing absentee ballot drop boxes. The commission, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, repeatedly deadlocked on what to tell clerks about what the decision meant and how to interpret it ahead of the Aug. 9 primary. Commissioners said they may consider giving guidance later.”
As for LAA’s recent Wisconsin results, a typical email to an election clerk citing a match between a Wisconsin voter who cast a ballot in the 2020 election and a contemporaneous entry in the NCOA reads as follows:
We are bringing to your attention a voter in your municipality and county who appears to have voted from out of state despite registering a permanent residence there according to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database.
The US Postal Service (USPS) maintains the National Change of Address database. It includes individuals who request to have their mail forwarded and provides the individual’s original address, their new forwarding address, and indicates either a permanent or temporary move status. An individual submitting to the NCOA database online must submit an address-verified credit card for a token payment and as a means of authenticating residency.
We matched the entire voter registration database as obtained from the state of Wisconsin through a licensed vendor for matching by the USPS. (The licensed vendor does not conduct the matching process but rather the USPS does.) The NCOA database maintains records going back four years, and we did not match any records that filed move notices subsequent to October 2, 2020.
While a permanent move out of state typically serves as grounds to invalidate an individual’s right to vote in Wisconsin, exceptions do occur, particularly for members of the US military, currently enrolled students, federal workers, caretakers, UOCAVA, etc. False positives also can occur, such as where the USPS did not correctly match an individual or where voter made a permanent move out of state but then moved back.
We analyzed NCOA matches and subjected them to further investigation by using a variety of public and semi-publicly available tools to find supplemental evidence of one’s residential status to eliminate false positives. We determined if a subject had established residency outside the state, or whether they were qualified to vote in Wisconsin as they had not moved, had moved out but moved back, or had an exception (like military,
student, federal worker, caretaker, UOCAVA, etc.) despite moving.
Tools included news articles, property records, tax records, and court records as well as social media websites Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, along with blogs, review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews and others. We also used third party tools, such as nuwber, mylife, fastpeoplesearch, peoplefinders, etc. to locate emails and phone numbers not already presented in the voter record, as this would often yield social media account information. We also evaluated the military status of cases on the basis of proximity to a military base or the use of a military address, or if the individual had a military or similar occupational justification as determined by a LinkedIn record, etc.
If this is indeed an ineligible registration, we would like at minimum to have the voter rolls cleaned of this name, but also ideally be investigated and prosecuted if they knowingly resided in another state and still voted in Wisconsin past a reasonable period of time to change their address.
We have a lot of information about the individual (all available from public sources) and we are happy to submit the data for your review upon request should your investigation require it. If you have any questions or if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Look Ahead America
Director of Research
Address changes were examined only if indicated as permanent, Camacho said. Some voters LAA flagged were found to have changed their permanent address years before the 2020 election but still voted in Wisconsin in 2020, he explained. “There were some where we had out-of-state subsequent registration, which is where someone went to another state, registered there, and then voted in the old state. Sometimes they never voted in that new state, but it’s particularly egregious when they registered in the new state, voted there, but went back and voted in Wisconsin.”
“Questionable” ballots were not necessarily considered to have been “illegal,” Camacho said. While he did not expect LAA to achieve “perfect integrity” in its research, he added, “but as citizens, we can do a lot better.”
A wide variety of responses was received from clerks, as shown in the report, with some more receptive to LAA’s overtures than others. In reviewing additional emails LAA provided not included in the report, The Post & Email found many of the clerks responded by stating they had removed the voters in question from their rolls, while others said they forwarded some cases to district attorneys.
In response to Camacho’s follow-up emails inquiring, “Did you remove them from the voter rolls or look into prosecution for voting out of state if you found out that they did not have a legal exception?” one clerk responded:
I’m still maintaining my position and will not be pursuing prosecution. COVID-19 provided for a lot of confusion regarding absentee voting as we have discussed and is the reason for the out-of-state indefinitely confined voter. The voter’s requests have been deactivated, as well as one voter registration.
I appreciate your follow-up, but I consider this closed on my end.
In another instance, Camacho sent his standard follow-up email regarding a voter “who appears to have voted from out of state despite taking up permanent residence there according to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database” and in response, the town clerk wrote:
To my knowledge there was no voter fraud.
If voter fraud was detected by the NCOA the WAC would have investigated.
Camacho then wrote:
Thank you for not answering my question.
Now without the condescending response, did you remove the voter from the rolls? I wasn’t suggesting voter fraud, you used that term.
He closed the email with his normal, “Kind Regards,”.
The clerk’s response then was:
Confirmation with the County Clerk, voter has/was removed from the rolls.
Have a great Day!
In what Camacho said was “a handful” of cases, Camacho informed the clerk that LAA staff “flagged incorrectly” a voter who appeared to have been registered to vote in another state but cast a vote in Wisconsin in 2020 once the clerk assisted in researching the circumstances.
Clerks’ responses show that for some out-of-state subsequent registrations (OOSSR), they contacted the voter directly to clarify his or her residential address.
Every Wisconsin municipality is separate, Camacho said, and reports election results to the WEC, which he said was unhelpful to LAA’s cause of identifying and purging voters who should not have voted or who continue to vote in Wisconsin illegally. The agency, he told us, “not only tried to not help us, they actually sent out a ‘FAQ’ letter to the clerks saying they didn’t have to respond to us. They are not a cooperative agency. The thing that frustrated me the most was they knew about issues like the post office boxes and told us they don’t take action unless someone files a complaint.”
When we asked Camacho how it happens that a post office box or other non-residential address is used for a driver’s license and voter registration without discovery, he replied that in that regard, he asked one of the clerks, “How did you not check this?” The clerk reportedly said, “I get the list from the WEC that’s automated through their site.” Camacho rejoined, “So you didn’t check,” to which the clerk replied, “No, I took the information from them.”
“So no one’s doing due diligence. You’re still supposed to be checking it,” Camacho quoted himself as having told the clerk. “The clerk is still ultimately responsible to check it. They’re getting their information from the WEC, which is saying the address passed a proof-of-residency (POR) and the license passed because it was a Wisconsin license which was approved by the Department of Transportation, and therefore it’s OK. The WEC failed.”
Qualifying his statement, Camacho added, “Actually, Wisconsin wasn’t too bad in this area with only 65 of these; in other states we found well over 1,000. We didn’t look at those who only registered right before the election but didn’t cast a ballot.”
Expanding on that area of ineligible voter registration, Camacho said:
To me it’s weird that there’s not a blacklist of certain locations you can’t use as a residence. So WEC failed on that one. To some extent, both the clerk and WEC are correct in that they each got the information from the other, but everyone’s just being lazy and passing the buck.
I traced the issue back further. If WEC is getting approval from the DOT, that means the DOT is approving the license. I don’t know how the person got in, but that means the person is getting a water or electric bill or something at that address. They’re just using their mailing address and the clerk isn’t paying attention, and clearly the address is getting into the system. So unless there’s someone on the inside at the DMV who’s letting certain people in, it could be a training issue or the system didn’t flag it, but also the person should have checked it.
Some clerks were reticent to remove voters from the rolls even if evidence showed they were ineligible to vote for any of the reasons LAA presented. “A few kept moving the goalposts,” Camacho said, offering such excuses as, “She’s a senior citizen” when the person’s age was “40,” or “Maybe she’s homeless.” “Then she said,” Camacho told us, “‘Well, I have to give 30 days’ notice,’ and I asked, ‘Why do you have to give 30 days’ notice when it’s clearly illegal?'”
“I think the clerks are terrified of being sued,” Camacho continued. In another case, he said, the clerk said she was told by WEC that she “can’t remove this voter.”
“What methods do they have when someone registers to vote to check the address?” we asked, to which Camacho responded:
They have access to all the property and zoning records. They should have a blacklist which says, “This is a post office.” I understand there’s mixed-use ones with a UPS store on the bottom and apartment on top; however, the clerks should have a list from the DOT or the property assessor that says they’re commercial buildings or a parking lot. I know there are exceptions where a homeless person can mark an X at a cross-street, but there are egregious ones that just won’t fly.
Being a clerk and knowing your area is helpful, too. I’m not saying they’ll know every single location, especially in a big city, but they shouldn’t use circular reasoning such as, “It’s fine on the list.” I think some of these people are outright incompetent and have never been challenged, but not all of them. Many were very helpful and did try to work with us. There were some who were very difficult and seemed almost offended that anyone questioned their list, but we were just trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
More widely, Camacho said, “We found a case of double voting in Wisconsin and Arizona, and ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center) confirmed our work as did the Yuma County clerks/Sheriff.”
According to its website, ERIC “is a non-profit organization with the sole mission of assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. ERIC is governed and managed by states who choose to join, and was formed in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts.”
Thirty-one states are currently members of ERIC, according to the website.
On June 3, 2022, Camacho sent a letter encapsulating a formal complaint regarding the 65 voters LAA discovered had “registered at and who cast ballots from the USPS, UPS, FedEx, storage units and independent mail centers in the 2020 General Election. In many cases this has been occurring since 2016 (Exhibit A),” citing the statute requiring the voter to provide his place of “habitation.”
The WEC also admitted to being aware that some voters used a post office box as a residential address but said it could not take action unless it received a “formal complaint” from a member of the public, hence LAA’s letter.
In a case which stood out to Camacho of an out-of-state permanent address change, the clerk contacted the voter to resolve the issue, at which time the voter characterized the inquiry as “voter intimidation.” Camacho, too, eventually made direct contact with the individual, apologizing in the event LAA had made a mistake as expressed in an email exchange. At the same time, however, Camacho explained that “raising a question is not voter intimidation. Every single citizen has a right to challenge a voter; they present their evidence, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong.”
Further, he told us:
Instead of complaining on social media, there’s no reason other people can’t be doing what I’m doing. It’s not just me; I want to give credit to the researchers on our team. They’ve taken a lot of this off of me; I’m just the face of it. But there’s no reason why every single person in their state can’t be doing this. You’re never going to clean 100% of these cases up, but even if we get some percentage, that can at least sway a local election and it can likely sway a state election.
We hope we have cleaned up these four states for the midterm election going forward, and hopefully we’ve even found some underlying issues. In Wisconsin there was a big foreign case, and we brought it to Georgia and Arizona, too. There’s a whole lot more here that needs to be investigated.
LAA has developed a six-point “Integrity” plan which Camacho believes could lend greater accuracy to the election process in each state. Additionally, he said, he believes each attorney general should fund a “dedicated voter fraud” unit.
“The silver lining here,” he concluded the interview, “is that there’s room for opportunity.”