Wisconsin attorney general talks voter intimidation, security ahead of election
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Ahead of the 2020 fall election, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul tells Action 2 News the state’s Department of Justice is actively working to prevent voter intimidation at the polls.
When voters head to the polls November 3rd, or even sooner to vote in-person absentee, the DOJ wants it to be a smooth and safe process and one without fear of intimidation or interference.
“In Wisconsin, it is a felony to use force or threaten to use force to prevent somebody from exercising their right to vote. It’s also a crime to cause someone to be in a state of duress to prevent them from voting,” said Kaul.
The attorney general tells us there have been no specific threats or actions prompting him to put out this warning.
Instead, he says it’s a preemptive move to remind people it’s a felony to intimidate or interfere in either the voting process itself or the counting of ballots.
“People have raised concerns about the possibility of voter intimidation in this election, and we want to make sure that, first of all, there’s a lot of work being done to prepare to make sure our elections run smoothly, and that people can have a lot of confidence in the voting process and people can vote safely,” said Kaul.
Wisconsin allows people to observe voting and ballot counting or even talk to people outside a voting location, but the attorney general wants to make clear that specific actions cross the line and become intimidation.
“What they can’t be doing or are not supposed to be doing, being not just an observer, but somebody who is impacting the way the process unfolds, so disrupting the process, interfering with it or if they are scaring voters,” explained Kaul.
With record numbers of absentee voting this year, the AG wants people to understand tallying votes could take longer than in years past and to exercise patience, and not turn to violence.
He says the Wisconsin State Intelligence Center will be active, working with federal, state and local law enforcement to watch for interference or coordinated threats.
“Anybody who does try to engage in any kind of voter intimidation should prepare to be investigated, prosecuted and spend time behind bars,” added Kaul.
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