Election Watchdog Finds 137,500 Ballots Unlawfully Trafficked in Wisconsin

10 trillion unique cell phone ‘pings’ were used to reconstruct the movements of ballot box intermediaries in 2020 election
By Steven Kovac March 29, 2022

At least 137,500 absentee ballots were cast through unlawful vote trafficking throughout several of Wisconsin’s largest cities in the 2020 election, according to research presented last week to the state Assembly’s Committee on Campaigns and Elections by the public interest organization True the Vote (TTV).

Ballot trafficking is an activity in which absentee ballots and votes are solicited, sometimes in exchange for money or other valuables. They are then collected through a process called “harvesting” and delivered to drop boxes by intermediaries (someone other than the voter), who are often paid a per-ballot fee by partisan actors.

“An organized crime against Americans” is how TTV cyber expert Gregg Phillips described to the committee what happened in Wisconsin and elsewhere during the 2020 election.

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Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside State Farm Arena as ballots continue to be counted inside in Atlanta, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Based on his 15-month study of election practices in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan, Phillips estimates that at least 4.8 million votes were trafficked nationally.

According to the True the Vote report, 242 intermediaries in metro Atlanta made 5,668 stops at drop boxes during elections in late 2020. In its report, TTV said it obtained 4 million minutes of drop box video surveillance tape that helped to document its Georgia findings.

“Many of the traffickers we spoke with do not recognize what they are doing as being a problem,” TTV spokesperson Catherine Engelbrecht said.

The study found that in Arizona, 202 intermediaries made 4,282 separate visits to ballot boxes in Maricopa County.

Several Arizonans have since been indicted for election law violations, with at least one conviction, according to Phillips.

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Poll workers count ballots inside the Maricopa County Election Department in Phoenix, on Nov. 5, 2020. (Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images)

Phillips told the committee that, in the states studied, TTV purchased from commercial brokers 10 trillion unique cell phone identity signals called “pings.”

Human rights organization First Freedoms funded the time-consuming and costly project.

Using a technique called geospatial mobile device signal analysis, Phillips said researchers are able to reconstruct a four-dimensional “pattern of life” of cell phone holders.

“From these pings, it can be determined where you work, where you sleep, and even what floor you are on within inches,” he said.

The Wisconsin study focused primarily on the Milwaukee County area, with some partial initial data coming from Racine and Green Bay, where the study will soon be further expanded, Phillips said.

In those three areas, TTV’s cell phone ping research found that in the two weeks from Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, 2020, 138 individuals each visited the location of a nongovernmental organization at least five times and made a combined total of 3,588 trips to absentee ballot drop boxes.

“That’s an average of 26 trips per person to drop boxes in the Milwaukee area,” Phillips said.

“Is this evidence of fraud?” committee member Lisa Subeck, a Democrat, asked.

“Vote trafficking is being done through the process. It is illegal,” replied Engelbrecht, who stated that every vote cast illegally cancels the vote of a legitimate voter.

Wisconsin Statute 6.87 (4)(b)1 provides that an absentee ballot envelope, in which the cast absentee ballot is placed, must be “mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.” The Circuit Court in Waukesha County in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, has agreed, holding that use of drop boxes for absentee voting violates Wisconsin law.

Drop boxes, if unattended by a municipal clerk or in an unauthorized location, are illegal under Wisconsin law. The law is currently being challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In her testimony, Engelbrecht stressed that the TTV report was focused on the process and wasn’t attempting to prove the 137,551 votes were illegal votes.

State Rep. Dave Murphy, a Republican member of the committee, stated: “If you vote in an illegal way, it is an illegal vote. If the process is illegal, the vote is illegal.”

Earlier in March, the report of special counsel Michael Gabelman on voter fraud revealed that some personnel of nongovernmental organizations are suspected of coordinating the 2020 ballot harvesting operations in Wisconsin’s five largest heavily Democrat-run cities—Milwaukee, Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison, and Racine.

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