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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Wisconsin Special Counsel Alleges Massive Misconduct in 2020 Election
Election officials count absentee ballots in Milwaukee, Wis. on Nov. 4, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Special Counsel Michael Gableman says in a 136-page interim report that he has uncovered numerous instances of alleged lawbreaking in Wisconsin in the 2020 election.
The former justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court was hired last summer by the Republican Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, to investigate suspected election fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
In the report released March 1, Gableman wrote that his investigation uncovered instances of numerous mentally incompetent nursing home residents, non-citizens, and ineligible felons casting votes.
He cited the use by municipal and county clerks of unstaffed absentee ballot drop-boxes, in violation of state law.
Laws were also allegedly violated when the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) allegedly exceeded its authority by ordering local election officials to disregard state statutes that regulate absentee voting.
The Special Counsel raised concerns that private money influenced municipal officials in the state’s five largest cities to “disfavor” many of their own citizens, as well as the vast majority of state residents, by spending millions of dollars of grant money on voter registration drives, absentee voter efforts, and Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns designed to serve certain favored, and specifically targeted, racial groups, in violation of the equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitution.
Gableman offered a list of suggested reforms designed to restore public confidence in Wisconsin elections.
Among Gableman’s recommendations was a call to abolish the WEC, prohibit outside money and personnel from participating in election administration, and improved training to better acquaint local election officials with their powers, duties, and rights.
He also laid out the legal rationale for decertifying the state’s 10 electors who voted for Democrat Joe Biden.
Biden was declared the winner of Wisconsin’s popular vote by six-tenths of one percent, or 20,000 votes.
Relying on the common law principle that fraud or illegality invalidate results under an illegal or fraudulent process, Gableman asserted that the state legislature had the constitutional plenary power to decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin because state laws were broken.
Democrat Governor Tony Evers released a statement the day the Special Counsel’s Report came out, saying: “This circus has long surpassed being a mere embarrassment to our state … Every day this effort continues, it is an increasingly dangerous and ongoing threat to our democracy.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, who has sued to block, or curtail, subpoenas issued by the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), said in a March 1 statement that Gableman’s report was a “full-throated attack on democracy” and an attempt to “overturn the will of the voters.”
Kaul said that Republican state legislators “have an obligation to our democracy to condemn, and end, this preposterous fake investigation.”
The OSC report detailed instances of what it called “obstruction” on the part of some state officials and private interest groups, which have filed nine lawsuits against the OSC and snowed it under with what it calls “dilatory,” “frivolous,” and “voluminous” public information requests.
Gableman alleges in his report that Democrat political operatives, paid for by grants from the Zuckerberg-funded non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), all but took over administration of the 2020 election in five of Wisconsin’s largest cities.
According to OSC’s report, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged in the spring and summer of 2020, CTCL donated nearly $8.8 million to county clerks and municipal election administrators throughout Wisconsin.
The stated purpose of the grant funding was to help ensure that communities had enough money to be able to conduct elections in accordance with public health safety guidelines.
Five of Wisconsin’s largest cities—Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha—received a total of $6.3 million in grant funding, ostensibly to purchase PPE and other health-related equipment, such as plexiglass barriers and hand-sanitizer.
The grants were conditioned on the five cities agreeing to guidelines of the Wisconsin Safe Voting Plan (WSVP).
Gableman alleged that WSVP was little more than a partisan campaign program designed to maximize voter registration and turnout in heavily minority-populated precincts.
The report states that the Wisconsin Elections Commission supported the WSVP Get-Out-The-Vote program, an action Gableman asserts is not part of the agency’s mission.
How Did the Five Cities Spend the Grant Money?
The cities used grant funds to pay for curbside voting tents, mobile polling places operated out of trucks, and for a drive-thru voting window at one city hall.
The cities spent grant money on voter education, a multi-media advertising and phone blitz, geo-fencing (a computer technique used to pin-point particular areas of geographic and demographic interest) and they paid for personnel called “voter navigators” (also known as ballot harvesters), whose job was to shepherd a prospective voter through the process of voting.
The municipalities purchased and installed in strategic locations, unstaffed absentee ballot drop-boxes in violation of Wisconsin law.
The OSC report presented data showing that the city of Green Bay spent eight-tenths of one percent of its $1 million in grant funding on PPE and health equipment.
Green Bay spent $50,000 for ballot drop-boxes and purchased a couple of new Ford trucks. The city paid a public relations firm $150,ooo for a voter outreach campaign.
The public relations campaigns in each city zeroed in on preferred racial groups, which, coincidentally matched the demographic profile of Biden voters, according to the OSC report.
The report said the cities’ actions were discriminatory and “disfavored” city and state residents who did not fit the targeted profile, raising issues of unequal treatment under the law.
CTCL and other private workers, called “grant mentors,” along with many volunteers, worked for weeks assisting city election officials and county clerks in conducting the 2020 presidential election.
What kind of assistance did the CTCL-supplied workers provide?
According to the OSC report, representatives of private organizations participated in much of the planning and administration of the election.
Tasks they performed included, curing defective mail-in ballots, challenging voted ballots, verifying photo ID, setting up voting equipment and vote counting centers, training volunteers, and writing instructions controlling the activities of count observers
Workers provided by private organizations assigned inspectors for polling places and vote counting centers, transported ballots to city hall and counting centers, issued a purchase order, made decisions whether or not to accept ballots after 8 p.m. on Election Day, participated in the counting of ballots, and set up wireless digital networks in polling places, clerks’ offices, and other buildings, according to the report.
The OSC report stated that local election officials, made beholden to private organizations by grant funding, could be susceptible to leverage pressuring them to do things in violation of their oath of office.
Other Alleged Offenses and Abuses by State and Local Election Officials
The special counsel alleged that rampant fraud and abuse occurred statewide in many of Wisconsin’s 6,875 nursing homes (housing 92,000 residents) during the 2020 election.
When visited by OSC investigators, many nursing home residents who are on record as having voted absentee in the election, were unaware of their surroundings, what year it was, or to whom they were speaking.
Some nursing home residents who purportedly voted had been adjudicated by a court to be mentally incompetent and whose voting rights had been taken away.
Wisconsin election laws require that a nursing home resident desiring to vote absentee must be visited by a Special Voting Deputy (SVD) designated by the local clerks or election boards to assist the resident and supervise the application and voting process.
Under the statute, only the resident’s immediate family, or an SVD, can have any contact with the ballots. They are never to be mailed.
In June 2020, for reasons of public health, the Wisconsin Elections Commission directed all clerks to handle nursing home voting according to the rules governing ordinary mail-in voting, thereby disrupting the strictly limited chain of custody of residents’ ballots—a direct violation of Wisconsin law.
The result was thousands of application forms, ballot envelopes, and ballots were illegally handled by nursing home employees, according to the report.
The report alleges nursing home administrators and staff members illegally assisted residents in marking their ballots. Some family members have reported suspected cases of staff forging the voter’s signature.
According to the OSC, the result was an “improbably high” voting rate, with many nursing homes reporting that 100 percent of their residents voted in the 2020 election.
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said in a statement: “The integrity of the November 2020 election, and of the WEC, has been shown time, and time again, through court cases and previous investigations.”