By Shereen Siewert

A 45-year-old Wausau-area man accused of lying on his voter registration application is free on bond, though he failed to appear last week at a scheduled initial appearance in the case.

Timothy Hedstrom, of Schofield, faces election fraud charges filed May 13 in Marathon County Circuit Court and was summoned into court for a June 2 initial appearance. But court records show Hedstrom did not appear as scheduled, prompting Circuit Judge Suzanne O’Neill to authorize an arrest warrant for the man.

The warrant was quashed one day later, after which Judge O’Neill set a $500 signature bond for Hedstrom.

An investigation began April 14 when Schofield City Clerk Lisa Quinn discovered a voter registration allegedly completed by a felon, making him ineligible to vote. As a result Timothy Hedstrom, of Schofield, was charged May 13 with in Marathon County Circuit Court with election fraud.

Police say Hedstrom in August 2020 completed an online voter registration and was issued a voter registration number on Aug. 26, 2020. But Hedstrom allegedly lied on the first qualifying question, which asks whether the voter is currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction.

Court records show Hedstrom is on probation stemming from a 2017 felony theft casem in which he was given a withheld sentence and probation.

In a withheld sentence, a suspect isn’t formally sentenced but is supervised under certain conditions. If those conditions are violated, the suspect can be sentenced at a later date up to the maximum penalty allowed.

Hedstrom’s probation agent confirmed the voter registration could be considered a violation, but no arrest warrant was issued, court records show. Instead, police arranged to interview Hedstrom at the Everest Metro Police Department. During the interview, Hedstrom allegedly said he was unaware he was not allowed to vote and did not recall seeing the question on the form.

In an email to Wausau Pilot & Review, Hedstrom said he never cast a ballot after registering to vote.

Election fraud is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but Hedstrom is being charged as a repeat offender – which could add additional prison time if he is convicted. Hedstrom could also face up to 10 years in the Wisconsin Prison System if he is forced to return to court for sentencing on the 2017 theft charge, for which he was ordered to pay more than $12,000 in restitution.

A pretrial conference is set for June 24.