, ,

5 charged with voter fraud in Fond du Lac County after listing PO Box in registration

3 of 5 charged voted in 2020 election, DA says, and at least one supported former President Donald Trump

A sign that says "VOTING ENTRANCE"
Voters walk to an early voting location Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at Waukesha City Hall. Angela Major/WPR

Five people in Fond du Lac County will be charged with felony voter fraud after the district attorney there said they illegally registered to vote using a post office box as their address.

Only three of those charged voted in the 2020 presidential election, District Attorney Eric Toney said at a press conference on Thursday. Investigators did not ask who they voted for, but Toney said one of those charged was a supporter of former President Donald Trump.

Toney said those charged used the post office box address because they did not have fixed addresses.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“Some of the allegations include people who had a travel trailer that (they) would drive across the country,” Toney said. “They would stay in different parts of Fond du Lac County or Wisconsin, or they had residence that was not stable.”

Those without homes or fixed addresses are legally eligible to vote. But they aren’t legally allowed to claim a post office box as a residence. Toney, who is a Republican candidate for state attorney general, did not indicate evidence that any of those charged voted more than once. He called the prosecutions an opportunity to educate the public about voter registration rules.

He also stated plainly that the prosecutions had “nothing to do with” partisan claims that the 2020 presidential election was swayed by fraud.

“We’re talking about five cases, (and) two other cases that we previously filed, so seven total cases in Fond du Lac County,” Toney said. “It is clear that that would have had no impact on any election results as far as who would have won a race, and we’re in no way saying it would have impacted that.”

According to court documents, those charged in Fond du Lac County on Thursday were: Sam Wells and Jamie Marie Wells; Lawrence Klug; Jeffrey Testroete and Markeis Carter. Testroete and Carter did not vote in the 2020 election.

According to the complaint, Jamie Wells told an investigator that “the candidate she voted for didn’t win, so it didn’t matter anyway.” She also said the detective investigating the case “should be looking at the election in Wisconsin” because “the election was cheated and ‘they took it away from Trump.’”

Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Trump by 20,682 votes in Wisconsin in 2020. But Trump has repeatedly lied and made false claims about the election, including sweeping claims of widespread fraud.

Local clerks in Wisconsin forwarded 13 instances of suspected voter fraud in the November 2020 election to district attorneys, according to a 2021 report approved by the Wisconsin Elections Commission and required by state law. A December 2021 review by the Associated Press of every potential voter fraud case in six battleground states found fewer than 475 potential cases across all six states, including 31 in Wisconsin.

In October, the Racine County Sheriff alleged that the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local nursing homes had both violated election laws. The Elections Commission strenuously denied those accusations, and disability rights advocates said the sheriff had falsely characterized legal practices around voting in nursing homes. Elections Commission members have not faced charges.

And for months, a team led by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman backed by Wisconsin’s Republican Legislature has conducted an investigation into the 2020 election. Late last month, a judge ordered Gableman to appear in court and turn over documents related to the investigation as required under Wisconsin’s open records law.

New WPR  Apparel. Starting at $12/month. Donate now.

Trustworthy news, world-class music and Wisconsin stories … made possible by people like you.