Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the Wisconsin Elections Commission — an agency Republicans created — needs reform and new leadership before the 2022 election.
Vos said the commission created problems in the 2020 election. The speaker, who last week called on WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe to resign, appeared Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Vos whether his call for resignations extended to the six commissioners, three Republicans and three Democrats.
“That’s one of the things we have to look at,” Vos said.
Vos discussed an investigation by the Racine County Sheriff’s Office into suspected voting fraud at a Mount Pleasant nursing home. Commissioners had voted not to send special voting deputies into nursing homes to assist residents because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sheriff’s office alleges that the WEC broke state law and that may have contributed to illegal voting at the nursing home.
Vos was critical of Commissioner Dean Knudson, who was appointed by Vos.
The vote to suspend the special voting deputies was a “bad decision on (Knudson’s) part. I’ve told him that. It clearly is disappointing.”
“So hopefully, we can begin the process of changing who runs the agency, making sure that they follow the rules, so that by 2022 — this isn’t about 2020, it’s about 2022 — guaranteeing that whoever wins the election does so fair and square,” Vos said.
Vos said he had spoken to the Racine County sheriff and a family member who made a complaint about voting in the nursing home. He slammed Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul for not investigating the nursing home voting situation.
When asked last week if he had spoken with Vos during the court of his investigation, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said no.
“When somebody reports that there’s fraud, it’s the duty of the elected officials to investigate and follow up on it. It’s why I am so disappointed that the attorney general is kind of turning a blind eye on this. We don’t have a clue how many nursing homes around the state had this exact same problem. The only entity that can do a statewide investigation with the potential to prosecute would be the attorney general. But he seems to be covering up the fraud,” Vos said.
Vos said reports of problems like the nursing home voting in Racine County are why he hired former Justice Michael Gableman to lead an investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin.
Pedersen asked Vos what he thought about the job Gableman is doing.
“You know, I think that behind the scenes, he is doing everything that he can. We obviously know that sometimes the media chooses to report fragments of what he says, or ways that he says it, as an attempt to try to discredit him, I think that’s unfortunate. He is well respected,” Vos said.
Vos said Gableman’s investigation will continue into next year and he hopes to have election legislation ready to go in the spring. He said the investigation is taking longer because “liberal groups and the attorney general are trying to stop the investigation” by going to court over it.
Also on the program, two attorneys – former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, and Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Dan Adams – weighed in on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, which is scheduled to start today in Kenosha.
Rittenhouse is the Illinois teenager accused of fatally shooting two men, and seriously wounding a third, in the violent protests that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake last year.
Rittenhouse is claiming self-defense. Bucher said that will be an “uphill battle” for the defense.
“I think there’s a lot of questions the government is going to have to deal with, as well as the defense, and I think the biggest thing is … ‘What the heck were you doing here? Why did you come to Kenosha and our community with a gun? We didn’t invite you,'” Bucher said.
Bucher also said the government is “over-trying the case, which is going to cost them, I think, dearly.”
Adams said the case will turn on what Rittenhouse thought that night, and whether jurors think they would have made the same decisions.
“Did Kyle Rittenhouse believe there was a threat to his person, did he use the appropriate force, did he believe it, and were his beliefs reasonable to an objective outsider, or someone in his shoes at the time?” Adams said.
Bucher said he thinks Rittenhouse will be convicted on one count, and acquitted on the rest. Adams said he thinks Rittenhouse will be acquitted of all counts.
See more from the program: https://www.wisn.com/upfront