Special prosecutor to investigate Wis. Rapids mayor Facebook bal - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Special prosecutor to investigate Wis. Rapids mayor Facebook ballot scandal

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- An outside prosecutor will be brought in to determine if the Wisconsin Rapids mayor will face any charges in connection to a Facebook ballot scandal.

Mayor Zach Vruwink posted his primary election ballot online last month. But that's against the law.

A city council candidate filed a complaint against the mayor Wednesday with Wood County District Attorney Craig Lambert.

But Thursday, Lambert said he plans to bring in a prosecutor from an outside county to handle the case.

I have personal and family relationships with people that work for the City of Wisconsin Rapids,” Lambert said in a statement. I am also concerned that any decision I make could be viewed as politically motivated.”

The Facebook post in question was posted February 18, the morning of the Wisconsin Rapids primary election, from the mayor's account. It showed two pictures—a voter number and a ballot marked for Zach Vruwink.

According to state statute, anyone who displays his or her marked ballot has committed election fraud and could face a felony.

Newsline 9 talked with Mayor Vruwink at a forum in Wisconsin Rapids Wednesday evening. He said he just found out that day that his post was illegal.

I subsequently removed the post, contacted the Government Accountability Board to indicate to them that the post had been removed,” said Vruwink. “I was not aware of the law indicating that that was not allowed, and so it was removed.”

This all comes before the mayoral general election April 1. Vruwink faces the former mayor, Mary Jo Carson, in that contest.

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