The January 6 anniversary offers lessons and reminders for Wisconsin voters

The Jan. 6, 2021 US Capitol insurrection. (Photo via US Department of Justice)

By Pat Kreitlow

January 5, 2024

A former sheriff says the assault on democracy is ongoing, and Wisconsin’s secretary of state wants one of the fake Trump electors removed from the state Elections Commission.

Saturday’s three-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol is being marked in myriad ways around the country. The former longtime sheriff of Dane County, for example, is reminding Wisconsinites that there remains an ongoing attack on their voting rights. And the Wisconsin secretary of state continues to call for a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to step down and file paperwork acknowledging his fraudulent actions on behalf of former President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski wants commission member Robert Spindell to resign or be removed for his role in Trump’s fake electors scheme—one part of the former president’s plan to have his 2020 election loss overturned by Congress or by Republican-led state legislatures.

“Just on purely moral and ethical grounds, there’s no reason why Commissioner Spindell should be sitting on the Election Commission, calling balls and strikes with how our elections are run,” Godlewski told UpNorthNews Radio.

Spindell and the nine other fake Wisconsin electors recently settled a lawsuit filed by a rightful elector for President Joe Biden. As part of the deal, they withdrew 2020 paperwork claiming Trump had won Wisconsin’s electoral votes, agreed not to serve as electors in 2024, and agreed to send a statement to the government offices that received their false documents that acknowledged what they did was “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

Godlewski said that by filing that statement with her office, she believes Spindell forfeits his ability to serve on the state’s election oversight board.

“[Spindell] asked for that document to be removed and to just disregard it from our records,” Godlewski said. “And I’m just not going to look the other way. When a public election official lies to my office and to the people of Wisconsin about the most important election document, the electoral college document, he needs to be removed. It’s clear that he doesn’t have the moral compass, and he can’t be trusted and the state of Wisconsin deserves better.”

Spindell remains on the commission with the support of Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg).

Spindell’s continued presence on the commission—and the continued support for Trump from other Wisconsin Republican leaders, is a reminder that the 2020 attack on democracy is not over, according to former Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney.

“I spent 41 years in law enforcement, the last 15 as the elected county sheriff,” Mahoney told UpNorthNews Radio. “And I remember raising my right hand to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, to ensure the rights of all our citizens, to enjoy the democracies that we are given. What we saw January 6th, 2021, was an assault on those democracies and the undermining of our democratic processes in an attempt to overthrow a fair election. And as we approach the election of 2024, I’m greatly concerned that there is a continued attack on the basic rights of our citizens.”

Mahoney said he is speaking out in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, enhanced federal protections of voting rights—and he saluted Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin for supporting the proposals. 

The progressive group A Better Wisconsin Together (ABWT) released a statement ahead of the anniversary of Jan. 6 that criticizes Wisconsin Republicans who played roles related to the insurrection. They include US Reps. Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald, who voted against certifying  the results of the 2020 election; Sen. Ron Johnson, who spread misinformation that undermined public trust in elections; and Derrick Van Orden, now a congressman, who was on the US Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, but denies taking part in any violent activity.

ABWT Executive Director Chris Walloch also criticized LeMahieu as well as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for what Walloch called “a multi-million dollar boondoggle inquiry” into the 2020 election, led by former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Gableman.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.


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