The news comes after Wisconsin’s baseless election investigation was expanded and as far-right lawmakers are demanding a deeper audit.
A current Wisconsin Elections Commission member, a current Republican state legislator, and the former state Supreme Court justice who is overseeing a baseless, taxpayer-funded investigation into the 2020 election all attended a three-day event in South Dakota this week hosted by MyPillow CEO and far-right conspiracist Mike Lindell.
The news, first reported Thursday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, comes about two weeks after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) expanded the investigative powers given to Michael Gableman, the conservative former Supreme Court justice who is leading the election investigation.
Elections officials and courts have repeatedly found there to be no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities in Wisconsin or anywhere else in the country, but Vos has forged ahead with putting Gableman in charge of the baseless investigation.
Bob Spindell, a Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission who has cozied up to election conspiracists and used his seat on the commission to actively spread misinformation about voter fraud, was the commissioner who attended Lindell’s event. The commission Spindell sits on has repeatedly refuted far-right conspiracy theories about the election.
Gableman was “right in the middle trying to absorb everything that was said,” Spindell told the Journal Sentinel. Spindell himself told the paper he attended the event to learn more about vote hacking. Lindell falsely claims votes were hacked to favor President Joe Biden in several states including Wisconsin.
Lindell’s event also takes place three weeks after Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) used a phrase common among followers of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory in a video he posted online.
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Ramthun and Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), chair of the Assembly’s elections committee, have publicly called for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election similar to the one taking place in Arizona. The unqualified firm running the audit performed its examination so sloppily that taxpayers will have to pay nearly $3 million to replace voting equipment to ensure security in future elections.
Ramthun spoke at the South Dakota event and falsely claimed software updates are “scrubbing the [voting] machines in my state,” according to the Journal Sentinel. The claims were shot down by the current chair of the state Elections Commission, Democrat Ann Jacobs, on Twitter.
Jacobs said the claim was “completely false,” explaining that the machines themselves don’t store election information (so there is no voting data to wipe) and that the software updates do not clear any other data from the machine.
“The claim is bizarre and preposterous and dead wrong,” Jacobs wrote.