Third District attorney refuses to press charges against state election commissioners | Local News
GREEN LAKE COUNTY — A Third District prosecutor declined to press charges against Wisconsin election commissioners after Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling requested a prosecution.
“I don’t think there’s enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that a crime was committed,” said Democratic Governor-appointed Green Lake County DA Gerise LaSpisa. Tony Evers, in a statement. first reported by WisPolitics.com.
Marge Bostelmann, a Republican appointee to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, lives in Green Lake County.
Schmaling, following an investigation by RCSO Lt. Michael Luell, called on five of the six WEC commissioners to face criminal charges for waiving laws relating to absentee voting in nursing homes during the 2020 elections.
In FebruaryRacine County DA Tricia Hanson declined to press charges, saying she lacked jurisdiction to charge the commissioners because none of their actions occurred in Racine County.
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Last weekthe Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office announced it would not bring charges against the two WEC commissioners, both Democrats, who live in Milwaukee County.
The Milwaukee District Attorney’s decision, as the RCSO put it, concluded “that … the words ‘must’ and ‘no’ are not binding and/or determinative in the interpretation of the law (regarding the law electoral), but simply “directory and not
District attorneys for Sheboygan and St. Croix counties have yet to announce their decisions.
A letter from a Milwaukee assistant district attorney said that after reviewing the RCSO investigation and relevant state laws, “it … seems clear that in providing advice regarding SVDs (Special Voting Deputies), the WEC exercised discretion, as the WEC is statutorily authorized to provide advice and advisory opinions in the administration of elections.”
The letter continued: “It should be noted that the primary purpose of election laws is to give effect to the will of voters.”
Upon news that the Milwaukee DA would not be pressing charges, one of the commissioners who lives in Milwaukee County, Democrat Mark L. Thomson, tweeted: “Allowing seniors to vote is not a crime.”
Bostelmann, who voted to forego the use of SVDs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the former Green Lake County Clerk. In November 2021, Green Lake County Republicans denounced Bostelmann and the WEC.
Green Lake County is located in south-central Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles north of Madison, 90 miles northwest of Racine, and 30 miles east of Wisconsin Dells.
Schmaling, Luell and others – including Michael Gableman, the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice leading the taxpayer-funded investigation into the 2020 election – have alleged that some of the nursing home residents who voted in the 2020 elections were “abused” and “taken advantage of” by the staff of the facilities in which they lived.
As a general rule, care home staff are not permitted to serve as SVDs and assist their residents in completing mail-in ballots. The WEC said SVD laws would not be enforced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that SVDs would likely not be allowed into nursing homes, but those who lived in nursing homes nurses should always be able to vote by mail.