Racine County man charged with felonies, election fraud for ordering absentee ballots for other voters

Union Grove resident Harry Wait said he requested ballots on behalf of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Racine Mayor Cory Mason to prove it could be done

poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day in Kenosha
In this Nov. 3, 2020 file photo, poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day in Kenosha, Wis. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul asked a court to block subpoenas issued by an attorney hired by Republicans to lead an investigation into the 2020 presidential election that was won by President Joe Biden. Wong Maye/AP Photo

Wisconsin’s Department of Justice has charged a Racine County man with multiple felonies for requesting absentee ballots in the name of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Racine Mayor Cory Mason without their permission.

Union Grove resident Harry Wait announced in late July that he requested the absentee ballots through the state’s MyVote Wisconsin website to point out flaws with the system. Wait requested ballots for Vos and Mason by entering their personal information, including their birthdates. He said he also requested several other absentee ballots for people around the state after getting their permission first.

If convicted, Union Grove resident Wait could serve prison time. Reached by phone Thursday, Wait said he was not surprised that the Wisconsin DOJ was bringing the charges, saying that agents there “have a job to do.” He also said he had no regrets.

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“If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it 100 times over if necessary to bring public awareness to the vulnerabilities in WEC and how it can be exposed and exploited,” Wait said.

In the criminal complaint against Wait released Thursday, the DOJ said it had reviewed social media posts and online videos featuring Wait admitting to having requested the ballots. Wait said he was “ready to be charged” for his actions.

The complaint said DOJ agents interviewed Wait last month, where he allegedly admitted to them that he had requested the ballots. According to the complaint, Wait told agents that he did not get permission from Vos or Mason to use their information or request their ballots. The complaint said Wait allegedly knew he was committing a crime.

The DOJ issued four charges against Wait. They included two felony charges for “unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information.” They also included two misdemeanor charges for election fraud.

“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that the integrity of our elections is protected from alleged intentional violations of the law,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul in a written statement accompanying the charges.

Wait runs a group called H.O.T. Government, which stands for Honest, Open and Transparent. Like others who’ve cast doubt on the 2020 election, he’s been at odds with Vos, who has rejected calls to decertify the election, saying the move would violate the constitution. Wait has also criticized Mason for Racine’s decision to accept private grants from a group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to run the 2020 election.

Wait said he faces an arraignment date on Sept. 8. He said he would file a motion to quash the subpoena he was served in connection with the case, but he also pledged to turn over additional data to the DOJ.

While Wait has repeatedly — and very publicly — admitted to committing a crime, he contended Thursday that there was a chance he would prevail in court.

“There are times that necessity requires people to do extreme things,” Wait said. “It was time for this to get exposed.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has argued that its My Vote system includes safeguards meant to flag election fraud, a stance it reiterated in a statement after the charges were announced.

“The WEC stands by the integrity of the MyVote application,” read the statement. “All forms of voting in Wisconsin, including by-mail absentee, are secure and reliable.”

The WEC said it had no role in filing the criminal charges and would not comment further on the ongoing investigation.