Evers: Prosecute if election laws were broken as alleged

Governor Tony Evers Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday that Racine County officials should file charges if they believe election laws were broken at a Mount Pleasant nursing home as alleged by a local sheriff who supports former President Donald Trump.

“It’s pretty simple,” the Democratic governor said at a Capitol news conference. “It’s not something that should be made more complex by the politics. Somebody screwed up, they should be prosecuted. Simple as that.”

Last week, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling called on the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate a decision by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission last year to instruct local elections officials to send absentee ballots to nursing home residents instead of dispatching poll workers to them to oversee voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The allegations are the latest example of Trump supporters seeking to undermine confidence in the 2020 election in a critical battleground state that President Joe Biden carried. The state justice department has already said it has no plans to pursue the case, the sheriff said.

Evers noted that the state Elections Commission can’t bring charges and said the matter should be left to local officials, the Journal Sentinel reported.

“If indeed something happened at a single Racine (County) nursing home, that should be investigated and charges brought if there’s a crime,” Evers said.

Schmaling has contended crimes occurred at the Ridgewood Care Center but has not recommended any charges. District Attorney Patricia Hanson has not said whether she is considering bringing any.