Grantee crunches Wisconsin election data and debunks fraud allegations

Election fraud is rare in Wisconsin, with fewer than 200 cases prosecuted over the past decade. More than half of those cases are for those with felony convictions who vote or register while still on probation. (Amena Saleh/Wisconsin Watch)

Wisconsin Watch, with a grant from the Fund for stories on threats to democracy, conducted the most comprehensive accounting of Wisconsin election fraud cases to date. The reporting found that, despite efforts to use the specter of fraud to restrict voting, there is very little actual election fraud. Reporter Matt Mencarini found that fraud prosecutions are disproportionately aimed at people of color, and wrongdoing was often committed by people on probation unaware that they were prohibited from voting. Over the past decade in Wisconsin, voter fraud has been prosecuted about once for every 163,000 ballots cast. Of the 192 prosecutions statewide, Wisconsin Watch was able to determine the nature of allegations in all but 11. There were 40 cases that involved the kind of fraudulent voting that’s banned everywhere, such as double voting or voting in the name of a dead person. In 20 cases, election workers, volunteers or candidates were charged.