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Coalition: WI Headed Down Dangerous Path With Election Probes

Closeup shot of one presidential election button in focus in between many other buttons in a box. Selective focus with shallow depth of field.
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Opponents of GOP-led election investigations in states such as Wisconsin say not only are they facing pushback from watchdogs and politicians from both parties, they also lack public support.

MADISON, Wis. -- Arizona has received widespread coverage for its controversial audit of last year's presidential election, and now, a bipartisan coalition of political leaders and pro-democracy groups said it is seeing similar patterns emerge in the Badger State.

In a newly-released memo, the States United Democracy Center said there are similarities between two investigations in Wisconsin and the Arizona audit, which has been criticized for a lack of transparency among other things.

Trey Grayson, former Kentucky secretary of state and a Republican, called out Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for changing his stance on whether there should be more reviews of the vote.

"Party leaders, one of the burdens of leadership is saying no to bad ideas that are coming from the base," Grayson asserted.

Sentiments about the election being stolen from former President Donald Trump have come from far-right politicians and voters, but the courts have rejected those claims.

Vos recently ordered an election probe to be led by a former state Supreme Court justice. His office did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

The memo said Vos' investigation, along with subpoenas sought by another GOP lawmaker, lack public details and could cost taxpayers a lot of money.

There's also a third Wisconsin effort; an audit being led by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. That was also requested by Republicans in a move opponents describe as a political stunt.

The coalition said previous reviews of Wisconsin's vote did not reveal any widespread fraud.

Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the findings coincide with surveys of local election clerks who are citing occupational burnout.

"They were beleaguered with misinformation, harassment and sometimes threats," Burden reported.

Burden added separate research by his team found the current environment is prompting a number of clerks to leave their positions, but he said despite challenges, administrators still were able to conduct a fair election in Wisconsin.

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

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