A man in Wisconsin has been charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors after he allegedly made false statements about his identity on Facebook and went on the air in the state’s largest television market to express his complaints about the state’s absentee voting processes.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a news statement on Thursday evening that 68-year-old Union Grove resident Harry E. Wait had been charged with two counts of election fraud and two charges of improper use of an individual’s personal identifying information. He was working a booth at the Racine County Fair when he allegedly asked two people for their ballots without their consent.
According to the criminal complaint, the maximum possible sentence for each count of election fraud is six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. Class H felonies, like those associated with identity theft, carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has stated, “The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that the integrity of our elections is protected from suspected willful violations of the law.”
According to the aforementioned criminal complaint, the underlying offenses occurred on July 26, 2022, and entailed the theft and use of two different people’s identities. Wait, the soon-to-be defendant, told Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN-TV only three days after the alleged crimes that he ordered ballots in the names of Racine Mayor Cory Mason and Wisconsin State Rep. Robin Vos of Racine County, the speaker of the state assembly. Neither of these individuals are named in the complaint. Vos is a Republican, while Mason is a Democrat.
On July 29, Wait introduced himself to WISN as the head of H.O.T. Government, which the TV station called a “watchdog group.” Wait had yellow and black placards behind him that said “honest,” “open,” and “transparent” during the interview.
On video, he freely admitted asking for votes.
Wait was recorded as saying, “Yes, I’ll go behind bars if that’s what it takes to stop the fraud in our elections so that we can have safe — truly safe, secure elections.”
Wait went on, “I was informed that the online WEC [Wisconsin Election Commission] voting system may be vulnerable.” We ordered ballots online for Racine’s mayor, Cory Mason, and Wisconsin’s assembly speaker, Robin Vos, to put them to the test on Tuesday.
Again appearing on camera without shame, Wait claimed he informed Vos and Mason that he “successfully got into the WEC system and requested their ballots to be transmitted to me.”
Wait, according to WISN, claimed that other others participated in the “test,” but he revealed to the television station that he was the one who ordered the ballots to be printed.
The criminal complaint alleges that Wait made the admission on Facebook before his July 29 television appearance.
The Wisconsin Election Commission informed law enforcement on July 28 that a post on a Facebook group named “Freedom Fighters of Wisconsin” stated that an individual had been “requesting absentee ballots in other people’s names.”
According to the criminal complaint, Wait claimed in the post that he had also ordered ballots under the names of other people, but that he had received authorization from those people first.
Wait told investigators that he was “ready to be charged” for his acts, according to the official report filed by law enforcement.
Their stated goal on their Facebook page is to be a “instrumental force to carry on and safeguard our God-given rights, Liberties & Freedoms as Americans.” “People are facing loss of their independence and liberty,” the statement reads, and “government at all levels” is to blame for “growing control, overreach, and eventually, tyranny.”
Images of the Constitution, Jesus walking through a woodland area styled as an American flag, Donald Trump endorsing a local politician, and a copy-and-pasted announcement of a Trump event can all be seen on the group’s Facebook page.
Wait’s original message (which was dated July 27) may still be found on the band’s website.
Wait was scheduled to meet with police enforcement on August 24. It is claimed once more that he admitted asking for Vos and Mason ballots “when he was at the H.O.T. Government exhibit at the Racine County Fair.” He allegedly admitted he did not have either of their permissions, that he was aware he was committing a felony, and that he “further claimed he would do it again.”
The defendant has been ordered to appear in Racine County Court on Thursday, September 8 at 2:00 p.m. to address the allegations against them. If he does not show up as directed, an arrest warrant will be issued for him.