Racine broke election law, Wanggaard alleges

Wisconsin State Sen. Van Wanggaard filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, accusing Racine of breaking election law – on election day.

The state senator accuses the city he represents of encouraging "ballot harvesting" by suggesting that one person can submit ballots on behalf of other people.

Wanggaard references a January 2022 Waukesha judge's order, but at Racine City Hall, the clerk said that order does not cover any municipality, Racine included.

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"This is the type of garbage that makes it difficult for people to believe that it's a fair process," Wanggaard said.

Wanggaard points to Racine's voting website and a frequently asked question that says one person can submit another person's ballot.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard

"The way they present it says anybody can do it. Anybody can go collect someone else's ballot and bring it in. Nope, can't do that," Wanggaard said.

The January 2022 order required the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rescind its guidance on the use of drop boxes. The judge also interpreted the law to read that only the voter can submit their own ballot.

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"He can say what he'd like, but I'm not a politician," said Racine Clerk Tara Coolidge.

Coolidge said Racine is not bound by that order, nor is any other municipality, because the order was aimed at the Wisconsin Elections Commission. She pointed to the law's exception that allows an authorized agent to submit a ballot on a voter's behalf.

Voting in Racine

"I definitely think a lot of this could be solved with talking about things, instead of portraying things in the media and giving opinions, instead of maybe seeking legal advice and reaching out and having a good relationship about that," said Coolidge.

It is unclear if the Wisconsin Elections Commission will act on Wanggaard's complaint. The Wisconsin Supreme Court could hear the issue of drop boxes and further absentee ballot questions later this year.


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