MacIver Newsmakers Podcast: Rep. Brandjten’s Election Investigation Update

Aug. 30, 2021

There are four different efforts to investigate the 2020 election in Wisconsin, but only Rep. Janel Brandtjen’s has been conducted out in the open.

Brandtjen is the chair of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections. On March 23, 2021, the State Assembly passed a resolution directing her committee to conduct a formal investigation on the 2020 election. That provided the committee with the ability to issue subpoenas. The Evers Administration advised anyone who receives a subpoena, however, to not comply.

So far, the committee has held four hearings into the election, uncovering several problems that seem to violate state election law.

  • The committee discovered that the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) instructed local clerks to mail absentee ballots to care facilities without requiring Special Voting Deputies, which is required by law.
  • Brandtjen also sparred with WEC upon learning that 5% of new voter registrations failed to match DMV or Social Security records, but were not rejected.
  • The committee uncovered that the City of Green Bay taking away control of the election from the city clerk and giving it over to a third-party political operative, in violation of state law. Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich refuses to testify to the committee on the incident (and the Republican DA of Brown County hasn’t brought Genrich in for questioning either).
  • The committee also found widespread problems with absentee voting including ballot curing, people claiming to be indefinitely confined, and incidents of ballot harvesting.

Brandtjen and other lawmakers visited the forensic audit in Arizona this summer. She says Wisconsin should conduct its own cyber forensic audit focusing on the tabulating machines, ballot marking devices, and other election equipment.

Outside of Brandjten’s committee, the other three investigations are:

  • The Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed the Legisltive Audit Bureau to investigate the election on Feb. 11, 2021. There is no scope, but the bureau presented a proposal that it could look into: how WEC complied with the law, how clerks complied with the law, how electronic voting systems were used and validated, and how complaints filed with WEC and clerks were addressed. The report is expected to be released this fall.
  • Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired former State Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman to conduct an independent investigation. There’s also no scope, but the results are expected to be released at the same time as the Audit Bureau’s report.
  • Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced on Aug. 25, 2021 that the state will conduct a cyber forensic audit also headed by Gableman. There are no details, yet, on what it will focus on.

On this edition of the MacIver Newsmakers Podcast, Rep. Brandtjen talks to the MacIver Institute about her efforts to restore integrity to Wisconsin’s elections and what roadblocks she faces trying to get that done.