Wisconsin voting probe chief urges Legislature to consider decertifying 2020 election

Former Supreme Court justice Mike Gableman cites evidence that "most vulnerable citizens" in nursing homes were defrauded, Mark Zuckerberg donations were improper and some rule changes were illegal.

Published: March 1, 2022 11:56am

Updated: March 1, 2022 8:05pm

The former judge named to investigate Wisconsin's 2020 election declared Tuesday there is enough evidence of voting irregularities for the Legislature to consider decertifying the state's final results declaring Joe Biden the winner.

Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Mike Gableman presented a 136-page report outlining the preliminary results of his probe to the state Assembly, offering evidence of several irregularities including that "most vulnerable" nursing home residents had been defrauded of their votes.

His conclusions followed two major court rulings that declared election rules changes enacted in 2020 – which allowed for ballot drop boxes to be used and voters to skip ID requirements by declaring themselves "indefinitely confined" by COVID – were illegal. Those rulings call into question tens of thousands of ballots cast in a state where Biden won by less than 21,000 votes.

 "I believe the Legislature should take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020 Wisconsin presidential election," Gableman testified to lawmakers.


In his report and testimony, Gableman cited many concerns, including the potentially corrupting influence of donations from a group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, which gave $8.8 million to election judges and administrators in the five large Democrat-run cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine and Wisconsin.

He also cited evidence that some of the state's "most vulnerable citizens" in nursing homes had their voting rights trampled by workers who voted on behalf of them without getting permission. 

A parallel audit by Thomas More Society found 100% voting rates in over 90 nursing homes across the state. The group said the suspicious outcome occurred because the Wisconsin Election Commission gave an "illegal directive prohibiting municipal clerks from sending legally required special voting deputies into those homes."

Gableman also called for the "elimination and dismantling" of the Wisconsin Election Commission, an administrative office whose decisions were overturned by the courts after the election. Gableman called the commission "hopelessly incompetent." 

"We have to have an election system in Wisconsin that is not only honest in fact, but also in appearance," he told the lawmakers.

Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson called findings in Gableman's report "troubling" and noted the seriousness of his efforts.

“Like the Legislative Audit Bureau, Special Counsel Gableman raises severe issues regarding the 2020 election in Wisconsin that need to be taken seriously," the senator said. The goal of our efforts moving forward is to restore confidence in our election system. ... The lack of cooperation by the [Wisconsin Election Commission] and some local election officials is not only troubling, but their obstruction of his investigation raises other serious issues. 

"I will continue to study the Special Counsel’s findings and work to make sure no legitimate vote is cancelled by a fraudulent one."

Democrats and the traditional media immediately derided Gableman's findings as "fringe."

“WOW - Gableman goes full in crazy conspiracy theory and demands that Wisconsin ‘Decertify’ the election,” Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairwoman Ann Jacobs, a Democrat, wrote in a tweet.

As for corrective measures, Gableman recommended public and free-of-charge access to state voting rolls so residents can see "who is eligible and who voted." His presentation included several videos of interviews with nursing home patients listed as having voted but who seemed challenged to answer questions about elections. 

But of all his findings, the recommendation for a decertification captured the most attention. Gableman acknowledged in his report that the action would be mostly symbolic, saying such a vote “would not, on its own, have any other legal consequence under state or federal law” such as altering "who the current president is.”

He said his probe is far from complete and will continue.  "I had no other goal in mind to find the truth. And while we don't have it entirely yet, we're getting there," Gableman told the lawmakers.

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