Wisconsin election officials voted Tuesday to allow six Republicans running as Democrats in the state recall elections to remain on the ballot.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board voted unanimously that the six "protest candidates" recruited by Republicans be allowed to run as Democrats because state law doesn't require candidates to prove that they belong to a party.

The decision followed a recommendation by GAB staff to allow the fake Democrats on the ballot.

"In general, Wisconsin election laws do not require an individual to be a member of a political party to seek that party's nomination in a primary election," election staff wrote in a memo Monday.

"Wisconsin law does not permit the board to deny ballot access to the protest candidates," the memo concluded.

Democrats had contended that the six candidates committed election fraud by falsely stating they were Democrats when they filed to run.

"This isn't about what they are. It's about what they're doing," Jeremy Levinson, the attorney for the Democrats, told AP. "If the GAB puts these folks on the ballot, it's going to be ruling that some information it requires...can be factually false."

Fake Democrats were recruited to compete in six of the May 8 Democratic primary elections as candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and four state senate seats. A GOP spokesman said the strategy was intended to make sure Republicans did not face a general election on the day of the primary, which would occur if a primary candidate ran unopposed.

Republicans tried a similar strategy in recall races last year, when six fake Democrats ran in state senate primaries, all losing to their opponents.

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