The Wisconsin Elections Commission held an emergency meeting and its members shot back after a county sheriff claimed that it violated state law during the 2020 election.
A statement signed by five of the six commissioners, released Thursday after the meeting jumped immediately into a closed session, denied the WEC broke the law when it permitted nursing homes to allow staff instead of special voting deputies to assist residents with completing ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We knew that for the protection of residents, only essential workers (which did not include SVDs) were being allowed into facilities across the state," said Commissioner Julie Glancey. "As such, we knew it was essential to preserve the right to vote for those residents, so rather than require the absurdity of sending SVDs to knock on a locked door, we pivoted to the absentee voting process."
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“To put it simply, we did not break the law,” added Commission Chairwoman Ann Jacobs, who is an attorney from Milwaukee. “In fact, without action from the Commission, many residents in Wisconsin care facilities could have and would have been disenfranchised and not able to vote in the 2020 elections.”
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling levied the accusation during a press conference Thursday following a 10-month investigation into the Ridgewood Care Facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. "The elections statute was in fact, not just broken, but shattered by members of the" WEC, he said.
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Schmaling, who also said investigators found some family members expressing concerns that employees may have voted for several residents experiencing cognitive difficulties, called on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to open a statewide investigation.