The Racine County Sheriff’s Office recently held a press conference announcing that a deceased resident of a nursing facility voted absentee in the 2020 election. Fox 6 Milwaulkee reports, Shirley, formerly a resident at Ridgewood Care Facility, died on October 9, 2020, a month before the election. Shirley’s daughter, Judy Westphal-Mitchell, filed a case asserting her mother’s “diminished mental capacity” was exploited.
Further investigation revealed that during the 2020 election, the nursing home had an unusually high number of votes from residents. In the past, roughly ten residents voted, but in 2020, 42 voted. Of the 42 who voted, eight families claimed that their relatives lacked the cognitive ability to vote but that ballots were cast in their names anyhow.
Racine County Sgt. Michael Luell, who investigated the issue, stated:
“Judy was obviously concerned and asked,… ‘How can you actually do this?’ And she was informed that the employees would inquire as to how the resident had voted in the past, and they would basically follow those guidelines and vote accordingly. Judy, quite astutely, asked, ‘Are you telling me that if my mother can only recall JFK, that the staff would have voted Democrat for her?’ And the answer is yes.”
The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is accused of breaching the law, according to the sheriff. Democrats and Republicans are evenly split on the commission.
At the height of the pandemic, when nursing homes were strictly limiting visitors, the commission voted 5-1 that communities across the state should not deploy special voting deputies into nursing homes. In prior years, they were deputized by clerks and usually worked in pairs to assist nursing home residents in voting. Luell explained, “That means the staff at the facility absolutely, positively cannot, by this law. assist in the execution of the vote.”
Luell continued, “That is the completion of the crime right there. Crimes throughout the state. All 72 counties, every nursing home, [and] resident care facility, right there.”
Although the probe focused on just one nursing home, Sheriff Christopher Schmaling expects it will lead to more inspections across the state. He said, “Election statute was in fact not just broken, but shattered by members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.” He has requested that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul initiate a probe right away.
Former President Donald Trump urged people to watch the press conference, while Wisconsin Democrats labeled the Racine inquiry a waste of taxpayer money and denounced it as a publicity stunt.
The investigation has led to a distrust of the voting system among residents of Wisconsin and calls for Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe to resign.
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