A Cedarburg woman who submitted her dead partner's ballot in the 2020 election has been sentenced to 90 nights in jail.
Christine Daikawa, 50, entered no contest pleas to charges of making a false statement to obtain or vote an absentee ballot, a misdemeanor, and election fraud by impersonating an elector, a felony.
At a hearing in Ozaukee County Circuit Court earlier this month, Judge Steven M. Cain sentenced Daikawa to 30 days in jail on the misdemeanor and 60 days on the felony, to be served consecutively. She was granted Huber privileges to leave the jail during the day for activities unspecified in court records.
Daikawa was charged in November 2020, shortly after the election.
District Attorney Adam Gerol said there was never any suspicion Daikawa was acting as part of any broader voter fraud scheme, and that at sentencing, she expressed regret for actions that occurred while she was grieving her partner's death.
Daikawa's attorney, Michael F. Hart, agreed that his client, whom he called apolitical, got swept up in the emotions of the election and her continuing grief. He said contrary to the claims by election deniers about the validity of the 2020 election, Daikawa's case "reinforces the idea that there are proper safeguards in place to insure only eligible ballots are counted."
Hart said he was surprised by the length of the jail sentence, given Daikawa has no prior record and the offense was non-violent.
According to the criminal complaint:
Cedarburg City Clerk Tracie Sette told investigators when election workers tried to log an absentee vote that had been dropped off on Election Day, records showed the voter, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Larson, was deceased. The vote, therefore, was not counted.
Daikawa's was one of about 10 cases of voter fraud charged statewide in the wake of the 2020 election, according to the Associated Press.
Larson, 56, had requested an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 election in March. She died July 9.
But the ballot envelope had been signed and dated Sept. 16. Daikawa had signed as the witness, listing an address in Thiensville. From Larson's obituary, detectives learned Daikawa had been her partner.
Cedarburg officials knew the ballot was put in a drop box at City Hall on Nov. 3, but couldn't say for sure if it was dropped by someone independently or via the postal service. So they could not be 100% sure what day Daikawa actually deposited the ballot.
When confronted with the absentee ballot envelope on Nov. 11, Daikawa said, “I did, but I didn’t mean to” and then said she'd committed voter fraud and was going to jail.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Cedarburg woman sentenced for double voting in 2020 election