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Legislative committee hears earful about election mess

Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 12, 2020
 
MADISON — Democrat members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Elections and Campaigns took their masks and went home Friday. They threw a very public temper tantrum over a hearing that featured a full day’s testimony from concerned citizens and poll watchers who allege vote fraud and other malfeasance in Wisconsin’s presidential election. 
 
Democrats complained that the Republican-led hearing was a show trial showcasing conservative “conspiracy theories” over an election they insist was clearly won by their candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. They demanded their Republican colleagues to acknowledge as much, and they asked anyone speaking to the committee do so under oath. 
 
But those testifying Friday said the real assault on representative democracy occurred on Election Day, and in the months leading up to it. Others spoke of a rigged recount in liberal Dane and Milwaukee counties, where they say elections officials had it out for observers and representatives of President Donald Trump’s campaign.  
 
“I was told to expect to walk into a room full of hate,” said Paul Kramer, of Lisbon, an observer for the Trump campaign at Milwaukee County’s recount. He corroborated the stories of others, who said they were blocked from observing by election supervisors and vote counters — some who screamed obscenities in their faces. 
 
Kramer recorded Milwaukee County’s election clerk and the Board of Canvassers admitting that contracted recount workers fed votes into machines long after the board ordered the recount to stop for the day. 
 
“I have absolutely no confidence in the integrity of this recount,” the observer said “I can’t believe it happened. I was sick for two days after with a headache. I don’t see how we can have a democratic republic if this type of nonsense is allowed to occur.” 
 
Conservative talk show host Dan O’Donnell told the committee about the people he interviewed who had elderly parents in nursing homes. They described how their loved ones were pressured to vote for Biden by staff members after special voting deputies were no longer allowed to assist nursing home residents vote amid COVID-19 health orders. 
 
O’Donnell, who hosts a mid-day talk show in Milwaukee and Madison, said the “most vulnerable among us” lost their “sacred right.” 
 
He, as did others, accused the Wisconsin Elections Commission for its failure to follow and enforce state election law. 
 
The Wisconsin Elections Commission “ignored the clear letter of state law and made fraud an inevitability rather than a possibility,” O’Donnell said. 
 
But Dean Knudson, one of three Republican members of the six-member “bi-partisan” commission, defended the agency and shrugged off many of the accusations.
 
“There has been no credible evidence presented to the Elections Commission that any of these problems occurred in Wisconsin,” Knudson said, challenging the people who testified Friday or anyone else with evidence of misconduct to file a complaint with the commission. Some said they have, but have been ignored. 
 
The committee hearing came as Wisconsin courts deliberated the Trump campaign’s lawsuit seeking to toss out tens of thousands of votes it believes to be invalid. Late Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear a Trump lawsuit on appeal from a lower court, which had dismissed the litigation earlier in the day. The Supreme Court in a previous 4-3 decision said the lawsuit must work its way through the lower courts first.  
 
Biden won Wisconsin by 20,600 votes, less than 1 percent.  
 
Trump’ campaign has alleged an array of election shenanigans and law-breaking. Clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties, for instance, advised voters they could use the threat of COVID to seek “indefinitely confined” status. Some 240,000 voters statewide did, even though many would not have fit the real meaning of the designation. They got out of the state’s requirement to show Voter ID for the absentee ballots they requested. 
 
While some sought immediate legislative action to deal with the suspect results, it appeared the ultimate aim of the committee is reform. 
 
“Republican lawmakers today heard a consistent theme: Wisconsin’s election laws need more clarity and definition to prevent the kind of manipulation of process that was alleged in testimony today,” said Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) a member of the joint committee. “Words have meaning. When that meaning is undermined by a conflicting guidance, public confidence in our elections is weakened.”
 
Stroebel said the Elections Commission bears “significant responsibility for the confusion that unfolded this year.” 
State. Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls), said it’s clear a lack of trust and respect have plagued the election process. Maybe it was on a limited basis, perhaps it was more pervasive.
“But there is no way anyone could have listened to the testimony from today’s hearing and not have heard examples of personal failings from the people we entrust with our sacred duties of election administration,” the committee member said.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s rebuttal in an email obtained by Empower Wisconsin betrays the incivility of the gloating left.
“What a load of shit.  Republicans… this is what you passed.  FORMER Gov Walker signed it into law.  Wisconsinites abided by your laws.  They voted   You lost.   Don’t screw with the voters of Wisconsin.  They voted.  We all saw the results.  Game over,” the West Point Democrat spewed.

 

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