Update 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30
An Eagle River woman filed a complaint Friday with the Racine County District Attorney's Office alleging the estranged wife of Rep. Robin Vos committed voter fraud.
Roberta Retrum, a resident of Eagle River and former Assembly candidate for the 34th District, drove five hours to file her complaint in person instead of mailing it.
"I wanted to know it was received," she said. "This was worth the trip."
Retrum says that Samantha Vos, who is legally separated from Robin Vos, violated Wisconsin voting laws by casting ballots in the spring election, the recall, and the August partisan primary while she was a resident of Idaho.
Vos is the Republican state Assembly person for the 63rd District and co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance. He is a proponent of Voter ID, and Retrum said if he's so concerned about voter fraud in Wisconsin, he should have been the first one to call foul on Samantha Vos voting here.
"As soon as he found out that his wife voted in the spring elections and the recalls, he should have jumped on it like he would if the Democrats did the same thing," Retrum said.
In her statement to the DA, Retrum writes:
A vote, any vote, fraudulently cast, is a black eye on Democracy. The Republicans' claims of voter fraud, particulary of Robin Vos in the Lehman recall, just shows they want to hold others accountable when they can't even keep their own in line ... This is a state issue. As a voter, I am disgusted with the hypocrisy ordhestrated by the Vos family ... If Robin Vos believes there is voter or election fraud going on in his state, he should look to his own house first.
According to documents contained in Retrum's complaint, Samantha Vos filed for a legal separation on May 4 in Canyon County, Idaho. On the front page of the complaint for legal separation, it says Samantha Vos is a resident of Idaho and had been for at least six weeks prior to her filing.
Restrum also looked up Samantha Vos' voting record in Wisconsin, and the list includes dates from when she voted in person in Rochester for the April Presidential preference and spring election and the August partisan primary. Samantha cast an absentee ballot for the June 5 recall general election.
According to Wisconsin state voting laws, residents can live elsewhere, even for long periods of time, as long as they consider Wisconsin their primary residence:
Simply owning a business or temporarily visiting in a city, village or town does not qualify you for voting there if you intend to permanently live somewhere else. Your voting residence is defined as the place where you live, without any present intent to move, and where you intend to return when you are away.
In a letter to Samantha Vos about the allegations against her, attorney Matthew O'Neill from the Milwaukee law office of Fox, O'Neill, Shannon, LLC, cites this same state statute. Further, he outlines other reasons why she did not commit voter fraud, including her intent to return to Wisconsin.
It was agreed that you would go back home to Idaho and stay with your family while trying to figure out what to do with your relationship. You kept your personal property in your Burlington home, kept your bank accounts in Wisconsin, kept your driver’s license and registration in Wisconsin, and always intended to return to Wisconsin as your permanent residence. In fact, you also applied to UWM in March of 2012 and were accepted for a program this fall. You have not taken any job in Idaho, leased any property in Idaho, or voted in Idaho.
According to a story on Politiscoop, Idaho residency requirements require, "... the resident to swear that they have no immediate intention of returning to their home state, or finding residence out of the state of Idaho."
Samantha Vos is not registered to vote in Idaho, according to Idaho state Elections Supervisor Betsy Kimbrough. Voters in Idaho do need to have established residency for at least 30 days prior to the election in which they plan to vote, she added.
Retrum first filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board, but after reviewing the matter, the GAB said the allegations fall under Chapter 12 of state statute and should be referred to the Racine County District Attorney:
As we discussed earlier today, the Government Accountability Board's staff has reviewed your complaint concerning allegations that Samantha Vos voted in a Wisconsin election while not a resident of this State. These allegations, if true, could fall under §12.13 (1) (a), Wis. Stats., which provides that whoever intentionally votes at any election if the person does not have the necessary residence requirements violates ch. 12, Wis. Stats. Chapter 12 provides only criminal penalties for its violation. The prosecution of criminal matters under Chapter 12 falls exclusively within the purview of District Attorneys. §§12.60 (4) and 11.61 (2), Wis. Stats. The Board does not have the authority to prosecute anyone for criminal violations of law. For this reason, you should file your complaint with the Racine County District Attorney.
According to the letter from O'Neill, Samantha Vos was advised that by temporarily residing in Idaho with her family, that she would not lose her Wisconsin residency or her ability to vote here.
"You were specifically advised that doing so would not interfere with your permanent Wisconsin residency," the letter reads. "As stated above, at all times while you have been staying with family in Idaho, you intended to return to Wisconsin."
If the DA's office finds enough cause in Retrum's complaint to warrant an investigation, it will ask the Racine County Sheriff's Department to look into the allegations.