Wisconsin Election Results


Date of Election Certification

November 30th, 2020

Why Should We Trust the Official Results?

Hand Recount: Prior to certification of the election results, the Wisconsin Elections Commission ordered a full hand recount of close to 800,000 ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties—the state’s two largest population centers—following a demand from the Trump campaign. Trump campaign observers observed the recount, and the Trump campaign paid approximately $3 million for it. That recount resulted in net gains for Biden’s vote totals and confirmed that Biden carried the state. Source

Election equipment audit: Over six days in November, county and municipal clerks conducted a hand audit of more than 145,000 ballots from the November 2020 General Election. In total, 145,100 ballots were reviewed by hand and then cross-checked against the machine counting. The findings of the 2020 Post-Election Voting Equipment Audit showed that there was no evidence that any voting equipment used in the 2020 General Election in Wisconsin changed votes from one candidate to another, incorrectly tabulated votes, or altered vote totals in any way. Source

Minimal cases of potential fraud: Following a thorough review, the Wisconsin Elections Commission identified only 27 cases of potential election fraud in the 2020 election—out of 3.3 million votes cast. Source

Were bipartisan election observers allowed? Yes.

Wisconsin law provides substantial access to the public for all components of an election, from the testing of election equipment through recount.

Wisconsin law allows members of the public to be present and observe the testing of election equipment prior to an election.

Under Wisconsin law, any member of the public may be present at any polling place or any place where in-person absentee ballots are cast. Source

Absentee ballot processing and counting are also open to the public in Wisconsin. Source

Local and county canvasses of election results are also open to the public. Source

Recounts are also open to members of the public under Wisconsin law. Source

Trump campaign volunteers were also permitted to observe the recount of ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Source

Background on the Sham Review


In May 2021, Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced a new investigation into the 2020 presidential election in the state. The investigation is led by retired judge Michael Gableman, a Trump supporter who has publicly suggested that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Source Source Source

On the “investigation,” Gableman is working with a number of former Trump Administration lawyers including Carol Matheis and Andrew Kloster. Gableman admitted during a video about the “investigation” that he doesn’t know how elections work. Attorney General Josh Kaul has said the election review “doesn’t have any credibility” and has filed a lawsuit on the behalf of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to block some of Gableman’s subpoenas. Source Source

Key Actors

  • Robin Vos

    The Republican Assembly Speaker is overseeing the “investigation” into the presidential election in the state. In August of 2021, after speaking to former President Donald Trump, Speaker Vos shared that Trump "really wants to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to get to the bottom of what actually happened in 2020." SourceSource

  • Michael Gableman

    Gableman is leading the “investigation” into the 2020 election. Speaker Vos announced that Gableman had been hired one day after former President Trump attacked Vos and other Wisconsin lawmakers for not adequately pursuing baseless claims of voter fraud. The retired judge is a Trump supporter who has publicly suggested that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Source

Federal Election Protection & Security Concerns

Although Speaker Vos has not been transparent about the precise descope or methodology of the investigation, the fact that retired police officers are leading the investigation raises voter intimidation concerns. Those concerns are compounded by the fact that the former officers have subpoena power and it is not clear how they will be supervised to ensure they do not intimidate voters. Agents of the state (including retired law enforcement) asking voters questions about their voting history in search of fraud is highly likely to intimidate voters, in violation of anti-voter intimidation laws. The federal Voting Rights Act was passed in part to address a common practice in the Jim Crow South: law enforcement presence at the polls to intimidate voters. The U.S. Department of Justice recently sent a letter to officials in Arizona, warning them that their similar plans to interrogate voters about their voting history as part of their partisan review had the potential to violate federal anti-voter intimidation law. SourceSource

State & Local Reactions

“It was not rigged. It was not stolen, Donald Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election. It's really clear." – Former Speaker of the House and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Source

“I’m sorry, but there is not a reason to spread misinformation about this past election when we have all the evidence that shows otherwise.” – Republican State Senator Kathy Bernier. Source

“​​The “investigation,” chartered by the conspiracy-theory curious former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, suffers from a serious lack of credibility and lack of transparency, and his operation is riddled with security and legal concerns.” – professor of political science and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dr. Barry C. Burden. Source

Funding Streams

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have approved spending up to $680,000 of taxpayer money. The expenses are not specified. SourceSource

Status & Timeline

Status: Not Complete

Gableman has issued multiple subpoenas to mayors and clerks, but reversed course and canceled numerous interviews shortly thereafter. Speaker Vos has said that the work could stretch into 2022.

In late October, Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit seeking to block subpoenas former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman issued to state elections officials as part of Assembly Republicans' review of the 2020 presidential election. Kaul is asking a Dane County judge to declare that the subpoenas are unenforceable under the state and U.S. constitutions and Wisconsin state law. Source Source

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