The head of the Republican-hired investigation into the 2020 elections testified about the results of the investigation Tuesday, saying it was legally possible for Wisconsin to decertify the results — despite both Republican and Democrat lawmakers saying it was impossible.
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman also raised concerns about the votes of people in nursing homes, and the integrity of the elections held in cities that received money from Chicago-based company Center for Tech & Civic Life.
The administrator of the investigation Meagan Wolfe debunked the report, saying they had already discussed almost every concern Gableman raised. In a press release, Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison said the entire report perpetrated dangerous conspiracy theories.
“I implore my legislative colleagues to be outspoken in denouncing this shitshow that has damaged our democracy and wasted hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” Agard said. “Enough is enough.”
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Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna spoke out against Gableman’s report in a tweet, saying that allowing partisan officials to determine election integrity was bad for democracy.
Wisconsin Republicans gave Gableman $676,000 in taxpayer money in 2021 to investigate the 2020 elections.
University of Wisconsin Life Sciences Communication Professor Dietram Scheufele said many Republican officials don’t actually think the 2020 elections were stolen, but are saying they do to rile up their far-right base for the 2022 primaries.
“Even more moderate Republicans think [the claim of election fraud] is complete nonsense,” Scheufele said. “There’s absolutely nothing to those claims. At the same time, in order to win those 2022 elections, some Republicans think they need to win primaries in which the voters that think there’s something to come of the claim that widespread election fraud will actually be a good chunk of the electorate.”
As the Republicans head into the 2022 elections, they will probably back away from election fraud conspiracies to get more centrist voters, Scheufele said.
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Both the nonpartisan Legislative Affairs Legislative Audit Bureau and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
“Nonpartisan attorneys have already solidified that ‘decertification’ of an election is not legal,” Agard said. “We should be spending our energy by supporting our clerks, election administrators, poll workers, and the countless volunteers that have been selflessly working to uphold our democracy.”