Are military absentee ballots vulnerable to fraud?

Election 2022
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - In the wake of a city of Milwaukee election official allegedly requesting fraudulent military ballots, the scene is set for questions about Tuesday’s ballots. According to Marathon County officials, there aren’t a lot of active-duty military that are looking for absentee ballots, so the chance of that kind of voter fraud affecting an election is unlikely.

There are relaxed rules when it comes to active military voting in Wisconsin. They, and their spouses, don’t have to be registered or produce any proof of ID.

“You don’t really have to have a military ID number. You just have to have a name and birthday, and then you are certifying that you are entitled to vote as a military member,” said Marathon County Clerk Kim Trueblood.

There are forms to fill out. Voters have to be over 18, a U.S. citizen, lived most recently in Wisconsin and are not registered in another state.

“The responsibility for voters falls on the municipal clerk, so hopefully the municipal clerks are doing their due diligence to make sure that this is really someone who lives in their municipality,” Trueblood said.

The Elections Commission said in a statement on November 3rd that they may check up on the addresses of absentee ballot requests. They also look for irregularities.

“If there are any active addresses in Wausau, then the city can automatically match it. But if it’s something new, then it’s diligent work on our end to make sure that that really is an address or that we need to create it,” said Wausau City Clerk Kaitlyn Bernarde.

It’s easier to keep track of all absentee requests in a smaller municipality.

“It is on the honor system like it is for any voter. We’re taking their information. They’re certifying that they’re eligible to vote in this election, in the city of Wausau and that they’re not planning to vote anywhere else for this election,” Bernarde said.

Bernarde said anyone caught trying to file fraudulent ballots will be charged.

“We are trusting voters that they are providing accurate and true information. And if we get information otherwise then we’re obligated to turn that over to our local district attorney to prosecute that,” Bernarde said.

The Elections Commission also said in their statement that absentee military ballots only make up .07% of the state’s total. So they’re unlikely to make a difference in the outcome of the election.