Felon voter fraud remains rare in Wisconsin, report shows
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The number of convicted felons under investigation for voting in recent Wisconsin elections remains a miniscule proportion of the total ballots cast, according to a new report from the state elections commission.
The report is further evidence that there has been no widespread voter fraud in the state, despite false claims to the contrary that former President Donald Trump and his supporters have been spreading since the 2020 election. President Joe Biden defeated Trump by nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin in 2020, an outcome that has withstood two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a conservative law firm’s review and numerous state and federal lawsuits.
In the 2022 midterm, the Wisconsin Elections Commission referred 23 cases of felons voting to district attorneys, and five other cases remain under review, the commission said in a report prepared for its meeting on Thursday. That's a smaller percentage of the total vote than in the 2018 midterm, when around 0.0019% of ballots cast were referred to prosecutors.
Convicted felons currently serving any part of their sentence, including probation or parole, may not vote in Wisconsin. The state Department of Corrections, local clerks and the elections commission audit voters in every state or federal election to ensure that felons have not illegally cast ballots.
In an audit of the state's most recent election, a special race to fill a vacant Assembly seat, no voters were flagged as matching the Department of Corrections' records, the commission said.
Before that, 24 voters were flagged in an April election for state Supreme Court. Of those voters, 21 remain under investigation by the elections commission and none have been referred for prosecution.
The number of cases referred to prosecutors trends higher in presidential races, comprising roughly 0.003% of the total vote in Wisconsin in 2016 and 2020.
This story was first published on September 6, 2023. It was updated on September 7, 2023, to correct that 21 voters are still under investigation from the April election for state Supreme Court, not 23.
Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Harm on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.