La Crosse Assistant Police Chief Rob Abraham criticized La Crosse County Circuit Court judges on Election Day while filling out his ballot, according to a tweet sent from his personal Twitter account.
Abraham tweeted out a photo of his ballot listing his father as a write-in candidate for each of the Circuit Court judges running unopposed Tuesday, with the caption, “This is exactly why Judges don’t have to answer to anyone. No other options!!! Good luck Dad.”
Posting a photo of a marked ballot is frowned upon, but only illegal in cases of election bribery, according to Reid Magney of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
“There is no law in Wisconsin against posting a picture of your ballot online,” Magney said.
While other states have passed laws against ballot selfies, “two separate federal courts have said you can’t do that because it’s a violation of the First Amendment,” Magney said.
The main concern with showing your marked ballot is it could be viewed as evidence you voted a certain way because someone was paying you to do so.
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“The only potential way this could cause problems is if you were posting a picture of your ballot in order to be compensated for voting,” Magney said.
Wisconsin statute prohibits showing a marked ballot, according to La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke; however, that statute has been declared unconstitutional.
“So while it isn’t a good idea to do this because it raises questions, it isn’t technically illegal,” Gruenke said.
Abraham declined to comment further on the tweet Tuesday afternoon, saying it was inappropriate for him to discuss his personal political views while at work.
The assistant chief has a history of criticizing La Crosse’s judges, including in a news release sent out December 2018 titled “The Revolving Door of La Crosse County.”
In the release, Abraham objected to a bond ordered for Jesse Turnmire of Bangor, who was arrested just hours after being released on bond in connection with a shooting incident. He disagreed with the judge’s decision to lower the bond, saying Turnmire represented a serious community safety issue.
Jourdan Vian can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.