Republicans took advantage of, among other things, a commission vote in March 2020 overturning a rule that required MPs with special voting rights – trained and dispatched by municipal officials – to visit nursing homes twice before issuing absentee ballots to residents. MPs by special ballot, like most other visitors, were barred from entering nursing homes in the early stages of the pandemic, and the commission judged there was not enough time before the April primary to require them to refuse them before sending their absentee ballots.
At the time, the vote was relatively uncontested: no lawsuits from Republicans or anyone else challenged this leadership. The procedure remained in effect for the November general election.
But after Joseph R. Biden, Jr. won Wisconsin with 20,682 votes out of 3.3 million cast, Republicans began making unfounded claims of falsified votes from nursing homes across the state. Sheriff Christopher Schmaling of Racine County said five state election commissioners who voted to allow clerks to send absentee ballots to nursing homes without visiting special MPs to vote – as mandated by state law – should be charged with felony electoral fraud and election misconduct. office.
Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the State Assembly representing Racine County, was quick to agree, saying that five commissioners, including his commissioner, were “likely” to face felony charges.
The commissars insisted that they did not break any laws.
Anne Jacobs, a Democrat who chairs the commission, said she has no regrets about making the vote easier during the pandemic and added that “even my fellow Republicans” fear a future fair election in the state.
“We did our best during the pandemic to help people vote,” she said.
Mr. Johnson – a two-term senator who said he will announce a re-election in the next few weeks – is lobbying Republican MPs he met with last week at the State Capitol for federal elections.
“The state legislature must reaffirm its constitutional role, declare its constitutional responsibility, set the time, place and procedure for elections, and not continue to pass them through the Wisconsin Board of Elections,” said Mr. Johnson. “The governor is never mentioned in the Constitution.”