Wednesday's informational hearing before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, which is headed by Chair Representative Janel Brandtjen and Vice-Chair Representative Joe Sanfelippo, allowed for testimony and questions about election integrity investigations at the county and state level.
The hearing featured testimony from former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, the man named Special Counsel for an investigation into potential election crimes in the state. Gableman's investigation has subpoenas out to WEC, Mayors, and officials in the Wisconsin cities that received the most' Zuckerbucks,' seeking all records related to grants by groups like Zuckerberg funded Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR).
Representative Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit)
State Representative Mark Spreitzer questioned Gableman in Wednesday's hearing. He asked the Special Counsel to reveal the identities of the people working with him on his investigation, but he declined, and a contentious exchange ensued. "If you're so confident that this election was a model of integrity," Gableman said at one point, "you are in the minority in this country."
The hearing also included testimony by Michael Luell, newly promoted Lieutenant in Racine County and head of the investigation by the Racine County Sheriff's Office. His appearance was essentially a recap of the evidence in his Oct. 28 press conference of unlawfully cast ballots in nursing homes. The evidence, which Luell says was ignored by Wisconsin's Attorney General for months, included claims that straight-ticket ballots were cast in the names of elderly residents despite their having no recollection of voting.
State laws requiring Special Deputies to be present in nursing homes to avoid manipulating the elderly were not followed because of guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The Sheriff's Office has since made criminal referrals to the County District Attorney for five of six members of the WEC over that guidance and the crimes that followed. Prior to Wednesday's hearing, WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe had made a public statement about the focus on her commission:
"As Wisconsin's non-partisan chief election official, I have a statutory obligation to rise above political attempts to undermine our elections. Facts about how our elections are run in a secure, fair, and legal manner are available on our website. Despite the current political firestorm, I will continue to apply my full focus on the important work of serving all Wisconsin's voters and local election officials. It would be irresponsible to spend any energy engaging a blatantly partisan and coordinated attempt to baselessly challenge the integrity of democracy in our great state."
Wisconsin election integrity news abounds. The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) had released the results of its limited audit last month that found votes that were unlawfully counted and policies that were not followed. The report also made recommendations for changes in future elections intended to ensure a more accurate count.
Just hours before Wednesday's hearing, election records in the city of Madison were subpoenaed by the Wisconsin Senate based on the findings in the LAB report. The Senate's subpoena allows 14 days for Madison to turn over records in person or to the Senate Sergeant at Arms, with the consequence of potential "arrest, imprisonment, and criminal prosecution" per Wisconsin Statutes §13.26 and §13.27. Madison was a city that refused to comply with a request for election records from LAB, citing election material preservation laws and chain of custody concerns. The subpoena for those records is signed by Senate President Chris Kapenga and Senate Chief Clerk Michael Queensland. Other action in the State government prompted by the audit results from LAB includes calls for decertification and opening a new investigation with a plan for public hearings by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. State Representative Timothy Ramthun is among those who have called for decertification. His related press statement reads:
"The release of the bi-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau report identified 44,272 voters did not reflect proper voter identification and also revealed the mass increase of indefinitely confined voters from 4,505 in 2019 to 169,901 in 2020. Tainted or fraudulent, these alone should be enough to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election results.
Additionally, after review of today's press release from the Racine County Sheriff's Department, it was confirmed that on Mar. 12, 2020, the Wisconsin Election Commission knowingly and willfully directed all 72 county clerks to violate state statutes 6.84 and 6.875 regarding absentee voting in certain residential care facilities and retirement homes. This unlawful direction clearly broke state statute 12.13(2)(b)(7), which refers to intentionally violating election laws. When combined with the Legislative Audit Bureau report, these actions verify that our election process was fraudulent.
"Therefore, I call upon the Wisconsin Legislature to recognize its duty under Article 2 Section 1 Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, as well as the guidance provided from ss6.84(1), to decertify Wisconsin's November 2020 election results by reclaiming its ten electoral ballots."
The state Representative discusses decertification in his Ramthun Report Episode 34 and is joined by Captain Seth Keshel from a Wisconsin Voter Integrity Group meeting they attended together on Oct. 28:
His Episode 35 announces an official joint resolution for decertification that his office has created, though it must be introduced by a State Senator:
"We have qualified data that says yes more than nefarious actions took place, yes, illegal actions did occur, and fraud vitiates everything. More is coming, by the way. I heard a lot more is coming next week, which will validate the importance of this resolution request now—to make this a no-brainer.
"There are solutions that are built-in [to] prevent this from ever happening again it comes down to right person, right role, right time who in the legislature wants to be part of making history? Now's your chance."
Ramthun further announces plans to introduce legislation that would change state law to protect future elections. There are seven bills he calls "common-sense legislation" that includes a requirement for electronic data to be preserved like ballot data, a "data cleanup bill," and one that preserves the right for Livestream auditing future elections.