Not Every Sheriff Ignoring Voter Fraud
By: Brian Sikma
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says that his department’s order to deputies to ignore possible voter fraud in the county jail is part of a long-standing policy of his department. He insists that the memo explaining the order contains no new information and that concerns over inmates with felony convictions being allowed to vote is not his responsibility. But officials with sheriff’s departments in other parts of the state have a different take.
A leaked memo from one of Mahoney’s top officers to department staff working at the Dane County jail in Madison exposed a direct order prohibiting officers and staff from checking inmates requesting a ballot against records that would show whether or not they are qualified to cast a ballot. Inmates serving time for a felony are not allowed to vote according to Wisconsin law, nor are felons on parole or extended supervision.
In Waukesha County, the state’s third most populous county, county jail administrator Mike Giese said that his jail does take steps to stop ineligible felons from voting. “We always check to make sure they are not felons,” Giese said of inmates who apply for an absentee ballot. If a felon were to submit an ineligible request for an absentee ballot, jail officers would prevent it from going through.
In Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls said that if an ineligible felon tried to vote through his jail they would make sure they followed the action and caught the inmate. He didn’t seem to agree with Mahoney’s reasoning that sheriffs are not responsible for holding those in jail accountable for their actions.