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2020 ELECTION | REPUBLICAN INVESTIGATION

Robin Vos wants election investigation done by end of January

Michael Gableman from YouTube video

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is seen in a YouTube video in 2021.

Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos wants the investigation he ordered into the 2020 presidential election to conclude by the end of the month, even as legal fights over subpoenas issued to mayors and the state’s top elections official remain unresolved.

Vos’ spokesperson, Angela Joyce, said Thursday that Vos has asked lead investigator Michael Gableman for recommendations by February “so we can have legislation passed by the end of this session.” The session is scheduled to end in March.

A spokesperson for Gableman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

WisPolitics.com first reported that Vos and Gableman had agreed to verbally extend Gableman’s contract, which ended on Dec. 31. Joyce told The Associated Press that nothing had been “formally written,” but Vos had asked for the recommendations.

The original contract called for paying Gableman and his team $676,000 in taxpayer funds to complete the investigation. Vos had said it might take more money to finish it, but he did not respond to messages Thursday about whether Gableman will be paid more.

Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit seeking to block subpoenas Gableman issued to Wisconsin Elections Commissioner administrator Meagan Wolfe. A judge said a ruling on that would come by Monday.

Meanwhile, Gableman filed a lawsuit seeking to compel the mayors of Madison and Green Bay to sit for closed-door interviews or be jailed for noncompliance. Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich filed a complaint asking the judge to sanction Gableman for alleged misstatements about the mayor’s response to the subpoena.

A hearing on that case is set for Jan. 21.

Vos and his office’s attorney are scheduled to sit for depositions on Wednesday in yet another lawsuit filed by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight related to its numerous open records requests. Vos has turned over some of the requested documents related to the election probe, but a judge this week said attorneys could ask Vos for details about what he searched for and whether all documents requested were provided.

Another hearing in that case is set for Jan. 24.

The Wisconsin investigation comes as part of a broader Republican push nationwide to exert greater control over elections before the 2024 presidential contest.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes, an outcome that has withstood recounts and numerous lawsuits. An Associated Press review of votes cast in battleground states contested by Donald Trump, including Wisconsin, found too few cases of fraud to affect the outcome. Some of those cases involved registered Republicans and people who said they supported Trump.

The 2020 election is over. Here’s what happened (and what didn’t)

The 2020 election was “the most secure in American history,” according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which coordinates the nation’s election infrastructure.

While a handful of voters risked going to prison by attempting to vote twice or in the name of a dead relative, as happens in any election, no evidence of widespread fraud has ever been produced in Wisconsin or elsewhere.

Yet, many continue to question some of the practices clerks relied on to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots and make sure their votes were counted amid the first election in more than 100 years held during a pandemic.

The Wisconsin State Journal has covered every twist and turn of this debate in scores of stories. But here are a few that offered some broader context about what happened, and didn't happen, in the election of 2020.

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The state has multiple, overlapping safeguards aimed at preventing ineligible voters from casting ballots, tampering with the ballots or altering vote totals.

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Nothing in the emails suggests there were problems with the election that contributed in any meaningful way to Trump's 20,682-vote loss to Joe Biden.

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"Despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure," Sen. Rob Cowles said Friday.

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The grants were provided to every Wisconsin municipality that asked for them, and in the amounts they asked for. 

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"Application of the U.S. Department of Justice guidance among the clerks in Wisconsin is not uniform," the memo says.

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YORKVILLE — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Thursday morning news conference that it has identified eight cases of what it believes to be election fraud at a Mount Pleasant nursing home.

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The memo states that state law gives the Audit Bureau complete access to all records during an audit investigation and federal law and guidance does not prohibit an election official from handing over election records.

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Drop boxes were used throughout Wisconsin, including in areas where Trump won the vast majority of counties.

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"I don't think that you instill confidence in a process by kind of blindly assuming there's nothing to see here," WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg said.

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The report is the latest to show that there was not widespread fraud in Wisconsin.

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The clear insinuation was that someone not qualified to conduct an election improperly influenced these vulnerable voters. But the Wisconsin State Journal could not confirm the data. 

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The turnout at nursing homes in Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties in 2020 was not much different from the turnout in 2016.

Top 10 Wisconsin political stories of 2021 (based on what you, the readers, read)

2021 was another big year in Wisconsin politics. Sen. Ron Johnson said some things. Voters elected a new state superintendent. Gov. Tony Evers and Republicans clashed over mask mandates. Michael Gableman threatened to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay. Here are 10 political stories you, the readers, checked out in droves.

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Since the start of the outbreak, Gov. Tony Evers has issued multiple public health emergencies and a series of related orders. 

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Sen. Ron slammed the impeachment over the weekend as “vindictive and divisive,” and possibly a “diversionary operation” by Democrats to distract from security lapses at the U.S. Capitol.

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"I wouldn’t run if I don’t think I could win," said Johnson, who is undecided on a re-election bid. 

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The board had previously not required masks in schools after some in the public voiced opposition.

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With a new order announced, Republicans may be forced to start the process all over again to vote down the governor's emergency order and accompanying mask mandate, but the most likely outcome appears to be an eventual court decision.

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Fort McCoy officials acknowledge there were initial problems with food supply, but that and other issues are being addressed.

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The idea is in its infancy and all options, including declining to pursue anything, are on the table.

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Gableman has asked the court, which plans to take up the matter on Dec. 22, to compel the two mayors to meet with him.

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Deborah Kerr said she has also voted for Republicans and tells GOP audiences on the campaign trail for the officially nonpartisan race that she is a "pragmatic Democrat."

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Limbaugh died Wednesday at 70.

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