On Tuesday morning, the New York Times headline: Election officials nationwide find no fraud. The Times contacted top election officials of both parties in every state and found none reported any major voting issues.
But the Wisconsin GOP continues to back President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in and outside of Wisconsin in a partisan effort to reverse the results of the election.
This comes after every major news outlet declared former Vice President Joe Biden as the winner last Saturday with 290 electoral votes
Meagan Wolfe is the State of Wisconsin Chief Election Official and the Administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission – an administrative agency that makes election decisions. It’s nearly bipartisan– composed of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats
In a press conference last Wednesday, Wolfe stressed every step of the election was transparent and open to the public. Wolfe also emphasized that only elected lawmakers have the power change the law of elections
“As election administrators, we’re the referees,” said Wolfe. “We have to follow the rules prescribed by those you elect and we have an obligation to show you how we are doing that.”
Biden defeated Trump by over 20,000 votes in Wisconsin. That’s nearly the margin of victory in 2016, when then-candidate Trump carried the state by about 23,000 votes.
On Friday, State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos ordered an investigation into “concerns surfacing about mail-in ballot dumps and voter fraud” in Wisconsin.
Ballot “dumps” occur when a new batch of ballots have been counted on Election night. Wisconsin clerks have been asking the state legislature for years to allow them to begin tabulating ballots before Election Day, to ease the counting process. One bill proposed last December would have allowed clerks to begin the Monday before an election.
Vos appointed Assemblyman Joe Sanfelippo, a Republican from West Allis, as vice chair of a committee with subpoena powers to oversee the investigation.
Sanfelippo claims the Wisconsin Elections Commission refused to follow state law by not purging voters from a disputed registration list. He also claimed the clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties colluded to keep unverified names on voters lists and start voting early. Those allegations were “just the beginning.”
Scott McDonell, the Dane County Clerk, explained how the law was legitimately followed. He says Sanfelippo and State Republicans are attempting to change it.
“What we did was inform voters of what the law states about indefinitely confined voters,” said McDonell. “Not liking a law is different than something wrong happening.”
“If an investigation shows these actions affected the outcome of the election,” said Sanfelippo in his press release, “we need to either declare this past election null and void and hold a new election or require our Electoral College Delegates to correct the injustice with their votes.”
Either of these actions is against current state and federal law.
Defense of Trump and the GOP’s baseless claims extend to the federal representatives. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has refused to recognize the election results. While leaving a Senate GOP meeting yesterday, Johnson denied acceptance of the results to a reporter from political website the Hill.
Reporter: “Senator, have you congratulated Vice President Biden yet?”
Sen. Ron Johnson: “No.”
Reporter: “Why not?”
Johnson: “Nothing to congratulate him about.” pic.twitter.com/Is7APE2frx
— The Hill (@thehill) November 10, 2020
Meanwhile, all five of Wisconsin’s Republican US Representatives haven’t recognized the results of the election. In addition, all representatives except retiring Jim Sensenbrenner and elect Scott Fitzgerald have echoed GOP statements doubting the validity of the voting process.
The Trump family has also spread misinformation on elections in Wisconsin. On Monday, Trump’s son, Eric Trump, retweeted an article from the right-wing site The Gateway Pundit. The article falsely claims that Trump won Rock County in Wisconsin, and because of it, Trump should only be trailing Biden by about one-thousand five hundred votes statewide.
The conspiracy surrounding Rock County began with switched results from the Associated Press early on election night. AP spokesman Patrick Mak says that was quickly corrected, and pointed to several failsafes to catch and correct any errors
Meanwhile, election officials continue to voice their concern. Dane County clerk Scott McDonell says casting doubt is a danger that could have long lasting consequences.
“The damage could be irreparable to our democracy,” said McDonell. “Patriots in the past have sacrificed a lot for the system we have. And I think the lack of respect and care for our democracy is deeply disturbing.”