Residents of nursing homes in five Wisconsin counties did not vote in unusually high numbers in the last presidential election — contrary to what the leader of a partisan review of the election has asserted.
Nor was voter turnout significantly different from turnout in the 2016 election at nursing homes in four of the counties for which the Wisconsin State Journal obtained voting data.
The newspaper’s findings again throw cold water on claims by conservative former state Supreme Court justice and GOP special counsel Michael Gableman and supporters that widespread voter fraud was responsible for President Joe Biden’s 21,000-vote victory in Wisconsin. A report on the election by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, recounts in the state’s two largest counties, and multiple courts have found no evidence to support their claims.
Nevertheless, during a presentation March 1 before the state Assembly’s elections committee to discuss his most recent findings, Gableman showed videos of purported nursing home residents who appeared to be incapable of understanding the voting process but had, in fact, voted in the 2020 election.
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He then pointed to figures in his 136-page “second interim investigative report” claiming 100% of the registered voters in nursing homes in heavily Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties, and in Racine County, home to the Democratic-leaning city of Racine, cast ballots in 2020. In Kenosha and Brown counties, home to the Democratic-leaning cities of Kenosha and Green Bay, the figures were 97% and 95%, respectively, he said.
Earlier that year, the Wisconsin Elections Commission told municipal clerks they were not required to send special election workers into nursing homes to assist with the election because of the pandemic. Gableman’s clear insinuation was that someone not qualified to conduct an election improperly influenced these vulnerable voters or, worse, cast ballots on their behalf.
A State Journal review of municipal poll books last month showed a far different story in Dane County. Poll books, sometimes in electronic form and sometimes on thousands of pages of paper, allow the public to see who was registered on the date of an election and which of those voters cast ballots in that election.
In only one of Dane County’s 18 state-licensed nursing homes was turnout 100%: Nazareth Health and Rehab Center in Stoughton, where all 12 people listed as registered in the poll book had their ballots tallied. Turnout among all the others ranged from 42% to 91%.
Gableman’s turnout numbers for nursing homes in the other four counties are proving equally false.
Using data requested through the Wisconsin Election Commission’s Badger Voters service — which allows political campaigns and the public to obtain lists of registered voters and voting activity by address — the State Journal calculated voter turnout at all 52 state-licensed nursing homes in Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties in which people were recorded as having voted in the Nov. 3, 2020, election.
It could find only one where turnout in 2020 was 100%: the Brown County Community Treatment Center — Bayshore Village in Green Bay, where eight of eight registered voters voted.
Otherwise, turnout at the nursing homes ranged from 20% to 94%. Average turnout for Milwaukee County nursing homes was 80%, as it was for Brown. Turnout in Kenosha facilities was 72% and in Racine it was 73%.
Such levels are not out of line with what the state as a whole saw in 2020, when turnout was 72%, according to the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, and nearly 10% more people cast ballots than in 2016.
What’s more, the nursing home figures overstate turnout in the facilities because they reflect the number of votes cast divided by the number of registered voters, not the larger voting-age population, which the Elections Commission uses as the denominator in its turnout calculations. It’s also long been true that senior citizens are more likely to vote than the population at large.
Nor was the 2020 turnout at nursing homes in Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties much different from that in 2016. In fact, three homes in those areas saw 100% turnout, with 41 of 41 registered voters casting ballots in an election won by former President Donald Trump, who praised Gableman at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday and whose baseless claims of a stolen election Gableman has also taken up.
‘Incorrect and deceptive’
Gableman and his team did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Nor was the newspaper able to obtain comment from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, who appointed Gableman, or the Assembly elections committee chair Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, who has called for a “full, cyber-forensic audit” of the election.
Wisconsin Voter Alliance president Ron Heuer, who has said he compiled Gableman’s turnout numbers when he worked for him from about Oct. 1 to mid-December, also didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Kewaunee County-based Wisconsin Voter Alliance touts itself as “promoting and protecting the integrity” of Wisconsin’s voting system and has unsuccessfully sued to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results.
In a statement, the ranking Democrat on the Assembly elections committee, Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, called Gableman’s report “misleading” and said “the only way that they didn’t choose to intentionally mislead the public is if they have no idea how this works.”
“Mike Gableman should not have made an assertion about nursing home turnout based on partial data, and should have reached out to the actual experts — like the Wisconsin Elections Commission — that could have explained how this works,” he said. “Instead, he released a report that was incorrect and deceptive.”
Heuer said last month that he used the state’s voter database as of August 2021 to look at whether every registered voter at every nursing home in the five counties voted in the November 2020 election, although he erroneously included other kinds of group living arrangements, such as independent living for elderly people, in his calculations.
A spreadsheet of his findings provided to Spreitzer’s office, which provided it to the State Journal, shows columns for the number of active registered voters and number of votes cast in the 2020 election, often resulting in turnout figures that are inexplicably well above 100%. Spot checks of the data on registered voters and votes cast don’t match what the State Journal found in poll books.
Heuer has declined requests to go into detail about how he arrived at his turnout figures.
Nursing home votes, 2020
|County||Facility||Ballots cast||Registered voters||Percent|
|Brown||Anna John Resident Centered Care Community, 2901 S. Overland Road, Oneida||10||15||67%|
|Brown||Brown County Community Treatment Center - Bayshore Village, 3150 Gershwin Drive, Green Bay||8||8||100%|
|Brown||Crossroads Care Center of West Green Bay, 1760 Shawano Ave., Green Bay||10||11||91%|
|Brown||Edenbrook of Green Bay, 2961 St. Anthony Drive, Green Bay||7||8||88%|
|Brown||Grancare Nursing Center, 1555 Dousman St., Green Bay||12||15||80%|
|Brown||Green Bay Health Services, 1640 Shawano Ave., Green Bay||9||12||75%|
|Brown||Odd Fellow Home, 1229 S. Jackson St., Green Bay||15||16||94%|
|Brown||Rennes Health and Rehab Center - De Pere, 200 S. Ninth St., De Pere||10||19||53%|
|Brown||Woodside Lutheran Home, 1040 Pilgrim Way, Green Bay||16||18||89%|
|Dane||Badger Prairie Health Care Center, 1100 E. Verona Ave., town of Verona||32||39||82%|
|Dane||Capital Lakes Health Center, 333 W. Main St., Madison||82||90||91%|
|Dane||Crossroads Care Center of Sun Prairie, 41 Rickel Road, Sun Prairie||5||12||42%|
|Dane||Four Winds Manor, 303 S. Jefferson St., city of Verona||13||22||59%|
|Dane||Grace Healthcare of Oregon, 354 N. Main St., Oregon||10||17||59%|
|Dane||Heartland Country Village, 634 Center St., Black Earth||7||11||64%|
|Dane||Ingleside Manor, 407 N. Eighth St., Mount Horeb||16||32||50%|
|Dane||Nazareth Health and Rehab Center, 814 Jackson St., Stoughton||12||12||100%|
|Dane||Oak Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 718 Jupiter Drive, Madison||10||15||67%|
|Dane||Oak Park Place of Nakoma, 4327 Nakoma Road, Madison||14||16||88%|
|Dane||Oakwood Lutheran Homes Association, 6201 Mineral Point Road, Madison||14||19||74%|
|Dane||Oakwood Village East Health and Rehabilitation Center, Madison||2||3||67%|
|Dane||Skaalen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 400 N. Morris, Stoughton||41||49||84%|
|Dane||SSM Health St. Mary's Care Center, 3401 Maple Grove Drive, Madison||51||64||80%|
|Dane||Sun Prairie Health Care Center, 228 W. Main St., Sun Prairie||17||25||68%|
|Dane||The Bay at Belmont Health and Rehabilitation Center, 110 Belmont Road, Madison||24||31||77%|
|Dane||The Villa at Middleton Village, 6201 Elmwood Ave., Middleton||8||15||53%|
|Dane||Waunakee Manor Health Care Center, 801 S. Klein Dr., Waunakee||26||30||87%|
|Kenosha||Brookside Care Center, 3506 Washington Road, Kenosha||30||37||81%|
|Kenosha||Clairidge House, 1519 60th St., Kenosha||15||20||75%|
|Kenosha||Crossroads Care Center of Kenosha, 8633 32nd St., Kenosha||22||26||85%|
|Kenosha||Grande Prairie Health and Rehabilitation Center, 10330 Prairie Ridge Blvd., Pleasant Prairie||34||48||71%|
|Kenosha||Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center, 1703 60th St., Kenosha||4||10||40%|
|Kenosha||The Bay at Sheridan Health and Rehabilitation, 8400 Sheridan Road, Kenosha||4||12||33%|
|Kenosha||The Bay at Waters Edge Health and Rehabilitation, 3415 N. Sheridan Road, Kenosha||16||17||94%|
|Kenosha||The Manor of Kenosha, 3100 Washington Road, Kenosha||36||53||68%|
|Milwaukee||Allis Care Center, 9047 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis||37||40||93%|
|Milwaukee||Aria at Mitchell Manor, 5301 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis||33||36||92%|
|Milwaukee||Ascension Living Alexian Village Milwaukee, 9255 N. 76th St., Milwaukee||24||26||92%|
|Milwaukee||Autumn Lake Healthcare at Greenfield, 5790 S. 27th St., Milwaukee||17||21||81%|
|Milwaukee||Bedrock HCS at Glendale, 1300 W. Silver Spring Drive, Glendale||47||55||85%|
|Milwaukee||Bria of Trinity Village, 7500 W. Dean Road, Milwaukee||12||22||55%|
|Milwaukee||Chi Franciscan Villa, 3601 S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee||26||34||76%|
|Milwaukee||Clement Manor Health Care Center, 3939 S. 92nd St., Greenfield*||11||14||79%|
|Milwaukee||Crossroads Care Center of Milwaukee, 3216 W. Highland Blvd., Milwaukee||6||16||38%|
|Milwaukee||Eastcastle Place Bradford Terrace Convalescent Center, 2505 E. Bradford Ave., Milwaukee||90||102||88%|
|Milwaukee||Edenbrook Lakeside, 2115 E. Woodstock Place, Milwaukee||18||21||86%|
|Milwaukee||Glendale Care and Rehab Center LLC, 6263 N. Green Bay Ave., Glendale||1||5||20%|
|Milwaukee||Hales Corners Care Center, 9449 W. Forest Home Ave, Hales Corners||13||15||87%|
|Milwaukee||Jewish Home and Care Center, 1414 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee||19||24||79%|
|Milwaukee||Luther Manor, 4545 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee*||12||17||71%|
|Milwaukee||Lutheran Home, 7500 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa||72||89||81%|
|Milwaukee||Maple Ridge Health Services, 2730 W. Ramsey Ave., Milwaukee||15||18||83%|
|Milwaukee||Maplewood Center, 8615 W. Beloit Road, West Allis||22||34||65%|
|Milwaukee||Mercy Health Services, 2727 W. Mitchell St., Milwaukee||3||6||50%|
|Milwaukee||Milwaukee Catholic Home, 2330 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee*||41||54||76%|
|Milwaukee||Saint John's on the Lake, 1858 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee*||109||124||88%|
|Milwaukee||Southpointe Healthcare Center, 4500 W. Loomis Road, Greenfield||26||29||90%|
|Milwaukee||St. Anne's Salvatorian Campus, 3800 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee||53||75||71%|
|Milwaukee||St. Camillus Health Center, 10101 W. Wisconsin Ave., Wauwatosa||59||76||78%|
|Milwaukee||Sunrise Health Services, 3540 S. 43rd St., Milwaukee||3||7||43%|
|Milwaukee||The Bay at St. Ann Health and Rehabilitation Center, 2020 S. Muskego Road, Milwaukee||13||17||76%|
|Milwaukee||The Villa at Bradley Estates, 6735 W. Bradley Road, Milwaukee||68||92||74%|
|Milwaukee||Wheaton Franciscan HC - Terrace at St. Francis, 3200 S. 20th St., Milwaukee||4||6||67%|
|Milwaukee||Willowcrest Health Services, 3821 S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee||35||41||85%|
|Racine||Lakeshore at Siena, 5643 Erie St., Racine||16||20||80%|
|Racine||Oak Ridge Care Center, 1400 8th Ave., Union Grove||11||13||85%|
|Racine||Ridgewood Care Center, 3205 Wood Road, Racine||42||53||79%|
|Racine||The Bay at Burlington Health and Rehabilitation, 677 E. State St., Burlington||2||10||20%|
|Racine||The Villa at Lincoln Park, 1700 C A Becker Drive, Racine||14||23||61%|
|Racine||Wisconsin Veterans Home - Boland Hall, 21425 E. Spring St., Union Grove||61||81||75%|
|* Includes assisted living|
|Source: Wisconsin State Journal research|
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