OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – An ex-convict from Oconto County is charged with election fraud after he illegally voted for Donald Trump in the November election.
Our Green Bay affiliate, WBAY, reports that court documents show 24-year-old Michael Noffke has a recent felony on his record for theft. When he left jail, he signed papers acknowledging he couldn’t vote. But he tells police, he had no idea what he was doing was against the law.
Noffke is a felon, out on parole, which Wisconsin state law says disqualifies him from voting.
Kim Pytleski, the Oconto County Clerk, explains it this way: “When you’re on that extended supervision, there is an exit date for parolees that say now your right to vote will be reinstated, but until that time, you don’t have that voice because you didn’t abide by the rules that were set for all the rest of us to follow.”
But on Election Day, Noffke registered on-site in Oconto Falls, checked a box saying “I am not a felon,” voted, and wasn’t caught by election volunteers right away.
Chief Brad Olsen of the Oconto County Police Department said, “This last November election, there was a large turnout. There are a number of people that are flagged as disqualified voters that are on a list but the number of people being in the thousands coming through this voting site- it’s almost impossible to pick those people out.”
County officials say it was Noffke’s choice to break the law, even if the volunteers didn’t know to stop him.
Pytleski showed Action 2 News his signed paperwork acknowledging he couldn’t vote. “He signed the documentation. He then signed the poll book. He cast his ballot,” she said. “He knows- or should know- where he stands as far as being convicted of a felony and what limited rights he then possesses.”
Pytletski says this type of charge has only been seen in the past decade one time, but because there was not voter ID law, the county was forced to drop the charges. But in the 2016 election, showing a photo ID was mandated by law. The county was able to charge Noffke because they could confirm he was the one who showed up, registered, and voted using his own identification.
When officers tracked Noffke down after the election, he said he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to vote.
Action 2 News tried to catch up with Noffke at his Oconto Falls address listed on court documents, but were told by another tenant he no longer lives in the building.
If convicted, Noffke faces three-and-a-half years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He’ll be back in court next week.
Editor’s note: So what happens to that vote for Trump? In short, nothing. The county clerk explains that although the county can prove Noffke voted in the election, ballots are secret. “He voted for Trump by his own admission,” Pytleski said. “The vote did not change the result.”