Racine Co. Sheriff recommends charges following election investigation

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling election investigation

RACINE, Wis. — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office says it is recommending charges against five members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission following the results of its investigation into the 2020 election.

Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said Wednesday he is recommending charges to the Racine County District Attorney’s Office against commissioners Margaret Bostelmann, Julie Glancey, Ann Jacobs, Dean Knudson, and Mark Thomsen. The recommended charges include:

  • Misconduct in Public Office in violation of Wis. Stat. § 946.12(2) (Felony)
  • Election Fraud – Election Official Assisting with Violations in violation of Wis. Stat. § 12.13(2)(b)7 (Felony)
  • Party to the Crime of Election Fraud – Receive Ballot Non-Election Official in violation of Wis. Stat. § 12.13(3)(n) (Misdemeanor)
  • Party to the Crime of Election Fraud – Illegal Ballot Receipt in violation of Wis. Stat. § 12.13(3)(p) (Misdemeanor)
  • Party to the Crime of Election Fraud – Solicit Assistance in violation of Wis. Stat. § 12.13(3)(s) (Misdemeanor)

Schmaling says he is forwarding the recommended charges to the Racine County DA after Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul declined to pursue a statewide investigation.

RELATED: Evers: Prosecute if election laws were broken as alleged

The charging recommendations come after a press conference last week in which Schmaling accused five of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission’s six members of violating state election laws by telling voting clerks not to use the “Special Voting Deputy” process to send poll workers into nursing homes to help residents vote due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Schmaling said the families of eight residents told investigators they believed their family members did not have the mental capacity to vote, but had ballots case for them. Schmaling said he did not know who those people ended up voting for.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin over former President Donald Trump by nearly 21,000 votes.

The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission voted 5-1 in March 2020 that the Special Voting Deputies could not be used due to a safer-at-home order by Gov. Tony Evers. The order came while many nursing homes were not even allowing family members inside due to COVID-19 concerns.

An audit from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau released the week before Schmaling announced his findings also determined the Wisconsin Elections Commission broke the law when it told clerks not to send the deputies, and instead told clerks to mail absentee ballots to those who had requested them.

Schmaling supported Trump in the 2020 election, but claims his investigation was not based in politics, and he is not looking to reverse the results of the election.

Several Republican lawmakers called for Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe to resign following the sheriff’s press conference last week. Wolfe described the calls for her job as “partisan politics at its worst.”