By Amanda Pustz,
 Protect Wisconsin Elections State Director

Wisconsin reached an unfortunate milestone last month: The sham election audit by former State Supreme Court Justice and election-lie-amplifier Michael Gableman has now cost Wisconsinites $1 million. Between the $11,000 monthly fee Gableman charged and legal bills for the review and related lawsuits, this big waste of taxpayer funds has resulted in absolutely no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

You might be asking why the state of Wisconsin is wasting taxpayer money on an absurd chase to find an answer we already know. Let’s take a deeper look.

Was there voter fraud in Wisconsin?

We’ll say it again: There was and remains no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Multiple recounts, nonpartisan audits, and court rulings have found President Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin to be legitimate. Out of 3.3 million Wisconsinites who filled out a ballot, just 27 potential cases of voter fraud have been found.

Nonetheless, cynical extremists in Wisconsin (and nationally) have called for further investigation into the election. In 2021, Speaker of the State Assembly Robin Vos hired Gableman to conduct the “audit”. Originally, the scheme was “only” allocated $676,000 in taxpayer funds. But it was a terrible idea from the start because the contract left taxpayers on the hook regardless of how long the investigation took

As Gableman’s own testimony shows, it was a waste of taxpayer funds from the very beginning. He spent months learning the basics of Wisconsin election law while using a public computer and personal email address to officially conduct business. He even started destroying records, which forced a judge to intervene. The investigation was so poorly conducted that Speaker Vos cut Gableman’s fee in half. 

But one year later, over $1 million of Wisconsin taxpayer funds have been wasted on this absurd quest to find something that doesn’t exist. It was unnecessary from the start and it certainly is now. 

End the audit, protect our elections

So, what does this mean for the future of Wisconsin’s election? As we have called for before, the state legislature must end the audit once and for all. Multiple polls have shown that Wisconsinites trust their electoral process which consistently rates among the best nationwide. This sham investigation risks eroding that trust and gives a platform to conspiracy theorists. Wisconsinites: call your legislators and tell them to end the audit!

The Protect Wisconsin Elections team will continue informing voters about the threats to the state’s elections and protecting the nonpartisan election workers who make our democracy strong. Just last week, we knocked on doors in Milwaukee and Green Bay to talk to our neighbors about the issue, giving away yard signs to those joining the cause to support our election workers.  

Finally, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the new member of Wisconsin’s bipartisan Elections Commission – the agency tasked with administering the state’s elections. We were concerned that Speaker Vos would appoint someone who believes in the Big Lie. While the replacement commissioner is not a conspiracy believer, he has made some concerning comments recently calling into question his commitment to the Commission. 

We will continue to monitor the actions of the Commission, and continue fighting to protect Wisconsin’s elections. Sign up below to join us!

Contributors: Nolan Bush, RepresentUs Writer; Ally Marcella, RepresentUs Research Analyst

RepresentUs is America’s leading anti-corruption organization working city-by-city, state-by-state to fix our broken political system.