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Special counsel: WI partisan election review not over yet

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison
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Wisconsin News Connection

The leader of a partisan probe into Wisconsin's November 2020 election says lawmakers should consider decertifying the state's presidential election results.

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman issued an interim report Tuesday, and said he intends to continue the investigation, which has twice had its deadline extended.

The review has been criticized by some Republicans, Democrats and voting-rights groups, who have argued it undermines the state's electoral process. Speaking before a legislative committee, Gableman said the probe is an effort to ensure the election was conducted fairly.

"When I started this process, when I started this whole procedure, I had no other goal in mind than to find the truth," he said, "and while we don't have it entirely yet, we're getting there."

Despite Gableman's testimony, his report noted that its purpose "is not to challenge certification of the presidential election," although it outlines how that might be done. According to Associated Press reports, nonpartisan legislative attorneys have said overturning those results is illegal, and Republican legislative leaders are against the move.

Among other things, the investigation alleges private election grants given to Wisconsin's largest cities were illegal, that the state mishandled voting in nursing homes and that absentee-ballot drop-boxes violate state law. Gableman also called for dissolving the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, which has been a major policy item for some Republican lawmakers in recent months.

"The Wisconsin Elections Commission - unfortunately, at best - is hopelessly incompetent," he said.

Several bills closely mirroring the report's recommendations passed in the Legislature last month, but Gov. Tony Evers is all but certain to veto them. Evers' GOP challengers in this year's gubernatorial race have made election administration a cornerstone of their platforms, and would likely be more receptive to the proposals should they be reintroduced.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Born and raised in Indiana, Jonah Chester has been covering issues in Wisconsin for the past several years. He previously worked at WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, where he earned awards for his coverage of everything from law enforcement and policing to the 2020 presidential election.
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