The leader of the state Assembly's elections committee issued subpoenas Friday demanding extensive election materials, including all ballots and voting machines, from two Wisconsin counties in what she called a “top-to-bottom” investigation of the state's 2020 presidential results.
Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen said she has sent subpoenas to Milwaukee and Brown counties for election materials. Brandtjen said last month that she wanted to conduct a review similar to a widely discredited audit performed in Arizona. Brandtjen and other Wisconsin Republicans traveled to that state in June to observe the review.
“Legislators have been hearing from thousands of disgruntled constituents regarding their concerns with the November 2020 election,” Brandtjen said in a news release.
Former President Donald Trump has been pressuring Wisconsin Republicans to take a closer look at the presidential results in the state, which Joe Biden won by about 20,000 votes.
No one has produced any evidence of widespread election fraud in Wisconsin and Biden's victory withstood a partial recount Trump ordered in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both Democratic strongholds.
Still, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has hired private investigators to review the results and the Legislature Audit Bureau has launched its own investigation. Vos said last month he doesn't know what a third review would prove and wouldn't commit to giving Brandtjen any additional resources.
Brandtjen said she welcomes both probes. But Wisconsin residents have objected to the audit bureau review because it's taking too long and she wants to give people a “transparent, full, cyber-forensic audit," she said.
“The clock is ticking as the 2022 elections will commence in just a matter of months,” she said.
Republicans have heavily criticized Milwaukee and Brown County’s election procedures.
They’ve questioned why Milwaukee officials didn’t release results until the early morning after Election Day. They’ve also accused Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich of ceding authority over the election to Facebook-funded consultant Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, questioning why Genrich handed over keys to the city’s central ballot counting location to him.
The subpoenas demand that Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson and Brown County Clerk Patrick Moynihan appear before the committee on Sept. 7 and bring along all ballots cast in the presidential elections in the counties, including mail-in, provisional and physical ballots.
They also must turn over all their tabulation equipment, software, images taken from their election management servers, routers and networking equipment, all absentee ballot logs, media used to transfer data such as flash drives and external hard drives, lists of all internet addresses used at any location where election equipment was used, names of voters and their addresses and birthdates and dates and times equipment was certified.
Brandtjen didn't immediately return a message asking how she will cover the costs of reviewing all that data since Vos said he wouldn't give her any additional resources.
Scores of people cheered Brandtjen at a rally outside the state Capitol hours after she issued the subpoenas. They held signs and flags that read “Trump Won” and “Cyber Forensic Audit Now.” Someone planted a sign in the Capitol lawn that read “Thanks, Janel for honoring your oath of office. #TossVos.”
Brandtjen told the crowd she planned to perform an audit annually.
“We're going to finally put this to bed,” she said, referring to questions about election integrity. She didn't say how she would accomplish such audits.
Christenson and Moynihan didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Brown County Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt said the county had received the subpoena and was reviewing it.
Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz didn't immediately return messages.
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