It was largely quiet around the state Capitol as Joe Biden was sworn in more than 800 miles away.

A handful of protesters walked around the grounds, including Ronald Gay, of Evansville, who described himself as an arborist, mechanic and pastor at a small church. Gay, who has demonstrated at the Capitol previously since the Nov. 3 election, carried a sign urging the Legislature to look into allegations raised by attorney Jim Troupis, who represented former President Trump in a lawsuit that went to the state Supreme Court.

Gay pointed to Troupis’ challenge of more than 170,000 ballots cast in Dane and Milwaukee counties by those who voted early in-person. The envelopes used for those absentee ballots doubled as the required written request for an absentee ballot. Troupis argued that was insufficient under state law. But none of the conservative justices who dissented in the court’s ruling that rejected the suit indicated they supported the argument. The suit also challenged more than 28,000 votes by those who claimed indefinitely confined status. But during oral arguments, justices suggested the less than a dozen Facebook posts entered as evidence were insufficient to throw out that many ballots.

Gay said he believed the election was flawed and mail-in ballots unreliable.

“A lot of people believe this to be true and for good reason, and that’s why I’m saying the Legislature needs to actually conduct an actual, factual, truthful, nonpartisan audit of these issues and present to the state the truth on the issues this man brings up,” Gay said.

Steve Wehler, a 68-year-old millwright from Janesville, carried a sign that read on one side “Give me liberty or give me COVID-19.” Wehler said he was protesting over the election and COVID-19 policies.

“I think I have a better chance of surviving COVID than I do of surviving my liberty being taken away,” he said.

A small group of anti-abortion protesters also circled the building before noon, carrying signs and occasionally stopping to use a bullhorn.

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