Republicans launch ‘election integrity’ events in Wisconsin | local government

The Republican Party is launching a nine-city “election integrity” tour of Wisconsin’s most liberal battleground towns, events featuring a former conservative state Supreme Court justice and coming less than two months before the state’s August primary.

The events, which kick off Wednesday in La Crosse, where there is an open seat in the U.S. House, and the state’s famous liberal capital, Madison, are drawing attention from those who say the roundtables are intended to spread lies about what happened in the 2020 elections President Joe Biden won and to mislead voters ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Republican organizers say the events are part of GOP efforts in battleground states to connect staff and volunteers and to recruit poll workers, observers and voting deputies. The effort in Wisconsin is a continuation of the Republican Election Integrity Operation which focuses on 16 states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, RNC spokeswoman Emma Vaughn said. .

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“We just think getting more citizens involved is a good thing,” said Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “The more eyes on the election is a good thing.”

Wisconsin is a key presidential battleground state that Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016 and then lost by almost the same margin in 2020. Trump supporters, who have repeatedly said the election was stolen but produced no evidence, pushed to overturn Biden’s victory. in Wisconsin, dismantle the state’s bipartisan Elections Commission and enact a series of changes to election law.

Republicans who control the Legislature tried to pass a series of bills that would have made absentee voting more difficult in the state, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed them all. Evers and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, are up for re-election in November.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, also hired another former state Supreme Court justice, Michael Gableman, to investigate the 2020 election. His reports were dismissed by Democrats and Republicans, and no evidence has been found to date to undo Biden’s victory over Trump. That victory withstood recounts in two counties, multiple state and federal lawsuits, a nonpartisan audit and scrutiny by a conservative law firm.

The upcoming roundtables are being touted as a chance to join the Republican National Committee, Republican Party of Wisconsin, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, and others to “learn more about the party’s efforts to ensure that 2022 is the year of fairness, openness, and honest elections in Wisconsin.The events are closed to the press.

Kelly referred questions to the RNC. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2016 by the then governor. Scott Walker but lost in his race for a full term in 2020 to liberal Jill Karofsky. Kelly plans to run for an open seat next year and is expected to announce her decision this summer.

Critical response

Liberal and other groups are organizing against Republican events and plan to demonstrate ahead of Wednesday’s roundtable in Madison. Other stops scheduled for the tour include Wausau, Green Bay, Appleton, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.

State Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, decried it as a “conspiracy theory roadshow.”

Matt Rothschild, director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks election spending, said Republican attempts to cancel the 2020 election, their focus on scrapping the state’s election commission, and their passing of bills making it harder to vote show that they don’t. care about the integrity of elections.

“It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious,” he said.

Angela Lang, director of Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, called the continued Republican efforts to contest the 2020 election “a big, gigantic distraction.”

“I don’t know how many times we have to plead or talk about how Trump lost the 2020 election,” she said Tuesday. “You can’t get away with it in court, you can’t get away with it in roundtable, and all they do is a faint hope of trying to keep the conversation going.”

But Jefferson, the state’s GOP executive director, said the effort is to educate would-be volunteers about what’s legal and not legal at the polls and find ways for them to get involved. He ignored the critics.

“We’ve faced Democrat pushback on election integrity for decades,” he said. “The idea that election integrity has surfaced in 2020 is absurd.”

The state has multiple, overlapping safeguards aimed at preventing ineligible voters from voting, tampering with ballots, or altering vote totals.

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