Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 22, 2020
MADISON — As Democrats diminished and ridiculed election fraud concerns as nothing more than “conspiracy theories,” state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo drove home why it’s critical to look into the claims.
And there have been a lot of allegations of irregularities and malfeasance at the polls in last month’s election — not just from President Donald Trump, but from poll workers, observers, contracted mail carriers and others.
Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) is vice chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Elections and Campaigns, which earlier this month held a hearing into the complaints.
He pushed back against assertions by grandstanding Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) that the hearing attempted to validate hearsay.
“This isn’t hearsay. This is a guy who just testified to us that he has spent 20 years at the polls … We should listen to the people who are actually there,” Sanfelippo said, referring to one of many Wisconsinites who testified about shenanigans on election night.
He pointed to Milwaukee elections officials, who added information to absentee ballots in defiance of state election law, who unlawfully removed voter ID requirements, and blocked observers from witnessing the ballot count. Doing so, the lawmaker said, created two different election systems.
“My constituents who are held to the letter of the law are put at a disadvantage to people in Milwaukee who are being allowed to not follow the law,” Sanfelippo said. “We have pervasive lawbreaking going on by the very people entrusted to run our elections fair and square.”
“I have pushed for an investigative hearing,” he continued. “I want people subpoenaed, testifying under oath.”
While Sanfelippo said the vast majority of people are honest, there are some “very bad people out there and they need to be held accountable.”
“If it takes my last breath as a member of this committee, I will make sure they will be held accountable.”
Smith disdainfully dismissed the need for the hearing.
“Four thousand people have died in this state and we’re wasting our time on hearsay and conjecture about elections instead of helping people who are dying. That’s an embarrassment,” the Democrat bloviated.
“What’s an embarrassment is the Democrats have exploited this tragedy (COVID-19) for their political gain, and that’s exactly what happened here,” Sanfelippo shot back.
Liberals nationwide, long looking to wipe out voter integrity laws, early on in the pandemic called for all-mail elections. They got much of what they asked for. Conservatives have warned that expanded vote-by-mail initiatives would compromise election security, allowing illegal votes to be counted.
State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), incoming chair of the Campaign and Elections Committee said she’s waiting to learn who her fellow members are and get their input. She told Empower Wisconsin that there will be more hearings, and there will be an audit.
“We are going to do everything we can to restore trust and confidence in our elections,” Brandtjen said.