Wisconsin DOJ works to ensure secure election ahead of November

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said there has been more concern and discussion about voter intimidation ahead of this election in particular, in addition to more planning to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 5:53 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With Election Day rapidly approaching, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is taking measures to ensure Wisconsinites can vote safely and securely.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul told NBC15 that the DOJ is taking election security and voter intimidation very seriously.

“Free and fair elections are at the core of our democratic process,” Kaul said. “So anybody who is attempting to intimidate a voter is first of all, committing a crime under Wisconsin law, but also is really interfering with our democratic process and is engaging an attack on our democracy.”

Voter intimidation is illegal in Wisconsin. According to the DOJ, Wisconsin law prohibits the use or threat of force to influence how someone votes, or whether or not they vote.

“Voter intimidation is a felony, and that if anybody engages in that conduct, they should be prepared to be investigated, prosecuted, and potentially spend time behind bars,” he said.

Kaul said with current political tensions, there has been more conversation about voter intimidation.

“Voter intimidation is not something that has commonly happened before in Wisconsin, but it’s also not unheard of, usually it’s one off incidents,” he said. “But there’s been a lot of concern, given the tension that’s out there right now, that there may be some in this election. So we want to be clear in advance that we are taking steps to prevent voter intimidation from happening.”

Kaul said election officials are empowered to remove anyone who interferes with the voting process from polling places, and that voters can report someone interfering with voting to election officials and local law enforcement.

“I think there’s been more concern and more discussion about this topic than there is in advance of a typical election, but there’s also been I think more preparation to make sure that it doesn’t happen,” he said.

The Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center, staffed by DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation employees, shares information about the safety and threats facing Wisconsinites with federal, state, and local agencies, including information surrounding elections.

“If there was any attempt at foreign interference with our elections or any sort of coordinated effort to prevent people from voting, we intend to react quickly and we will be working with other law enforcement agencies to make sure that voters in Wisconsin are safe and able to cast their ballots without any interference,” he said.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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