On Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Christopher Schmaling, the pro-Trump sheriff of suburban Racine County, Wisconsin, is now calling to abolish MyVote, the state's online portal that allows people to request an absentee ballot.
"Schmaling says ... individuals were able to commit a crime by submitting false information to obtain absentee ballots — in some cases using prominent names, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos," reported Molly Beck and Corrinee Hess. "Instead of promising to investigate the apparent violations of election law, Schmaling publicized the plot on social media and blamed the Wisconsin Elections Commission and sought to remove a way voters can easily request ballots just a few months ahead of the November election."
"The state Elections Commission called an emergency meeting for tonight — blasting Schmaling's statements," said the report. "'There is no indication of any vulnerability with the MyVote application. The idea that absentee ballot requests made online, via MyVote, are more susceptible to fraud is false,' the commission said in a written statement. 'The MyVote web application requires a person to provide the same information he or she would provide if the person made the ballot request through traditional mail or email. MyVote does not make it any easier to commit voter fraud than requesting a ballot through other methods.'"
The group responsible for the fraudulent registrations is Honest, Open, and Transparent Government, which claims to have done it solely to prove problems in the system. Per the report, H.O.T. Government "has repeatedly promoted Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud affecting his 2020 loss in Wisconsin and has blamed Democratic public officials and Vos for perceived irregularities."
Schmaling has repeatedly promoted conspiracy theories about the Wisconsin 2020 presidential election. In October 2021, Schmaling held a press conference to reveal what he claimed was "proof of statewide election fraud." His main point of "evidence" was that the Wisconsin Elections Commission didn't send people into nursing homes as usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that one person at a nursing home in Mount Pleasant a court had ruled mentally incompetent to vote had cast a ballot. No charges were filed in that case. There are also just 19,000 nursing home residents in the state of Wisconsin, whereas Biden won the state by 20,000 votes.
Some Democratic officials have alleged that Schmaling himself may have actually violated state law in the course of the investigation, by removing ballot materials from local election clerks.