By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — As the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Elections Commission and its political allies circle the wagons, the lawmaker leading one of three legislative investigations into the 2020 presidential election urges the public to follow the evidence.
State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), who chairs the Assembly Campaign and Elections Commission, on Wednesday released a statement pointing to WEC’s failure to follow or enforce election law as uncovered in the recent Legislative Audit Bureau report.
The commission and its embattled administrator, Meagan Wolfe, are required under state law to maintain voter registration records, although WEC has shrugged off its responsibilities in legal challenges.
“Providing accurate data to clerks is essential to voter integrity,” Brandtjen said. “The Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) provide data for the maintenance of our voter registration rolls. The Legislative Audit Bureau’s (LAB) audit makes it clear that WEC is not complying with state statutes.”
According to the LAB report:
- Only online voters have their information verified through the DOT.
- WEC did not obtain electronic signatures for those who registered online.
- DOT does not provide WEC with any personally identifiable information for voter matches.
- 16,000 registered voters may have had multiple voter registration records in Wisconsin.
- 743 registered voters may have died in other states and received Wisconsin ballots.
- WEC’s agreements with DOT, DOC, & DHS are outdated; the DOC contract is over six years old.
- ERIC can provide five types of data; WEC only uses one.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers insists the Elections Commission “broke no laws,” as the evidence of misconduct mounts.
Brandtjen in February 2020, introduced a bill to address how WEC handles possible double voter information from ERIC, which is a multi-state database. Brandtjen and State Sen. Jacque (R-De Pere) this past summer introduced an expanded version of the bill that describes how WEC should address felons, citizens who are deemed incompetent, and deceased voters.
A Racine County Sheriff’s Department investigation alleges WEC broke the law in barring special voting deputies from entering nursing homes to help residents vote. The investigation found at least eight severely cognitively impaired residents were assisted in voting by nursing home staff, a violation of state election law.
As Brandtjen notes, Wolfe testified that audits designed to detect in-state double voting as well as legally incompetent voters and felons not eligible to vote “have been conducted successfully for many years.”
Wolfe’s testimony doesn’t jibe with the audit.
“Ms. Wolfe implied that the WEC already had these issues under control, contrary to what the Audit Bureau stated in their report. If we are going to restore confidence in Wisconsin’s election process, we will need competent people at the helm of our election process,” Brandtjen said.