Wisconsin Election Results

Biden/Harris
1,630,866
49.6%
Trump/Pence
1,610,184
48.9%

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

Overview

After the 2020 election, Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced that he will be overseeing a new investigation into the presidential election in the state. The investigation will be led by retired judge Michael Gableman, a Trump supporter who has publicly suggested that the 2020 election was “stolen.” The investigators will have subpoena power and will investigate tips about voter fraud or election problems.Source Source

On July 26, Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who chairs the Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee, announced she also has decided to “initiate a more intensive investigation” of possible election fraud. On August 6, Brandtjen, issued “subpoenas” demanding extensive election materials, including all ballots and voting machines from Milwaukee and Brown counties. By September 3, both counties rejected the “subpoena” saying it was “invalid and unenforceable.” Source Source Source Source Source

In August of 2021, after to speaking to former President Donald Trump, Speaker Vos shares 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," Source

On September 13, an email signed by former Judge Gableman was sent to 25 county clerks asking them to preserve “any and all records and evidence” related to the 2020 presidential election. In a video, Gableman stated that if necessary, he will issue subpoenas to election officials who refuse to release requested information. Source Source

In the first 2 weeks of October, Gableman issued many subpoenas, but have since reverse course and cancelled numerous interviews. He has officially hired Andrew Kloster, a former Trump administration official to assist with the “investigation.” Attorney General Josh Kaul has said the election review “doesn’t have any credibility” and is calling for an end to the “investigation”. Source Source

Key Actors

  • Mike Sandvick

    One of the retired police officers leading the investigation is Mike Sandvick, a former Milwaukee police detective. Sandvick is a well-known partisan who has previously spread election conspiracies. For example, Sandvick previously drafted a since-debunked report claiming that there was voter fraud in the 2004 election. That report was disavowed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI, and a federal court refused to admit the report into evidence citing its lack of trustworthiness. Sandvick later did work on an “election integrity” committee established by the Wisconsin Republican Party and was briefly state director for True the Vote, a right-wing group that filed and then abandoned multiple lawsuits challenging Donald Trump’s 2020 loss and tried to remove 364,000 voters off the rolls in Georgia. As of July 30, Sandvick quit the investigation. SourceSourceSource

  • Rep. Janel Brandtjen

    Janel Brandtjen, who represents Menomonee Falls, has held hearing after hearing on what she claimed was election fraud, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Brandtjen was appointed by Speaker Vos to chair the Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee. After a visit to Arizona to observe the Cyber Ninjas audit, she announced the committee would conduct another “more thorough investigation of the 2020 fall election.” Source

  • Michael Gableman

    Speaker Vos has also hired retired Wisconsin judge Michael Gableman to oversee the three police officers involved in the investigation. Gableman previously participated in a November rally in support of Trump. "I don't think anyone here can think of anything more systematically unjust than a stolen election," he said at that rally. Gableman also stated at a Trump rally that he wasn’t confident “that this was an honest election,” according to WTMJ-TV. 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. 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

“It is unfortunate that Representative Brandtjen is claiming there are ‘ghost voters’ in Wisconsin when nothing could be further from the truth,” said Wisconsin Elections Commission Chair Ann Jacobs. Source

“Speaker Vos and Assembly Republicans are wasting taxpayer dollars on a sham investigation that validates and prolongs the Big Lie, undermines our democracy, and perpetuates the type of rhetoric that led to the January 6th insurrection.” – Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz Source

This week’s newest so-called ‘investigation’ is just another attempt by legislative Republicans to intimidate voters and election officials and to undermine the right to vote in Wisconsin.” — Democratic State Rep. Greta Neubauer. Source

Funding Streams

Taxpayers will pay the cost of the investigation. Source

Former RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus spoke on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” on August 24, 2021 that the investigation would cost "about $680,000, at least to start." He did not mention whether the source of funding will be from taxpayers, donors or a mix of the two, but added, "here'll be more outside money coming into Wisconsin.” Source

According to reporting, investigators will be paid $9,600 each over three months to conduct the probe. Source

According to reporting, Gableman will be paid $44,000 for four months on the investigation. For context, an elected member of the Assembly is paid $50,950 for the entire year. Source

Evidence of Partisan Motivations

Speaker Vos has admitted that he is pursuing the investigation in order to uncover evidence to be used to support restrictive voting laws.

Source

The investigation is being led, in part, by Mike Sandvick, who has previously spread baseless claims of election fraud and was previously affiliated with True the Vote, a right-wing group that filed and then abandoned multiple lawsuits challenging Donald Trump’s 2020 loss and tried to remove 364,000 voters off the rolls in Georgia. Speaker Vos has admitted that Sandvick has “Republican leanings.”

SourceSource

Michael Gableman, the retired judge overseeing the police officers, is a vocal supporter of former President Trump, who previously spoke about the election being “stolen.” Gableman spoke at a rally for Trump supporters on Nov. 7 after most news networks had called the election for President Joe Biden, where he told the crowd he wasn’t confident “that this was an honest election,” according to WTMJ-TV. Gableman is a former chair of the Ashland County Republican Party.

SourceSourceSource

Former President Trump is also actively calling for a “forensic audit” of the state’s election results.

Source

Status & Timeline

Status: Not Complete

An investigation was announced in late May by Speaker Vos, that would be led by election conspiracy-friendly, retired Judge Michael Gableman. On September 13, Gableman sent an email to 25 county clerks asking them to preserve “any and all records and evidence” related to the 2020 presidential election. In the first 2 weeks of October, Gableman issued multiple subpoenas to mayors and clerks, but reversed course and cancelled numerous interviews shortly thereafter. Attorney General Josh Kaul said the election review “doesn’t have any credibility” and is calling for an end to the “investigation”. Source Source

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have traveled to Arizona to observe the sham election review in Maricopa County.

A Project of