By Steven Kovac
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.
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.
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.