The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty released its own review of the 2020 election, finding no evidence of widespread fraud.
While the group said it believes more eligible voters cast ballots for Joe Biden than Donald Trump, it also suggested the number of votes that didn’t comply with existing legal requirements exceeded the Dem’s margin of victory.
WILL has been involved in a series of lawsuits over elections administration, including a suit to bar the use of absentee ballot drop boxes. Its position in those suits shaded its view of how the election was conducted. For example, the report states the Elections Commission’s guidance provided to local clerks on the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots runs afoul of state law requirements for collecting those votes.
The report concludes the use of drop boxes correlated with an increase of 20,000 votes for Biden, while having no effect on the vote for Trump. While it doesn’t claim the voters who used drop boxes should’ve had their ballots rejected, it suggests the use of drop boxes presented an election vulnerability.
The Legislative Audit Bureau wrote in its review of the 2020 election that state law doesn’t permit or prohibit drop boxes. It recommended the Elections Commission promulgate administrative rules on drop boxes if it believes they are allowed under state law. That would give the governor and Legislature the power to review the policy.
WILL also unsuccessfully sued to force the Elections Commission to remove from the voter rolls those who may have moved. The report concludes, “the Wisconsin Elections Commission and local clerks refused to take the required steps in 2020 to remove outdated and inaccurate voter registrations–resulting in tens of thousands of active voter registrations tied to old addresses.”
But the state Supreme Court rejected WILL’s lawsuit in a 5-2 ruling. The court upheld an appeals court ruling that found state law doesn’t require the commission to remove voters from the rolls and that authority belongs to local officials.
While WILL argued that methods allowed by the Elections Commission or municipalities violated state law, it also stressed that doesn’t mean “each vote cast under these methods was cast by an ineligible or nonexistent voter.” The group also said it wasn’t claiming such votes decided the election.
The review is one of several looks at the 2020 election that have either been completed or are underway. The LAB released its report on the 2020 election in October, while former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s review is ongoing.
WILL said it did a statistical analysis of vote totals with a targeted review of nearly 20,000 ballots and 29,000 absentee ballot envelopes. It also reviewed thousands of pages of documents from 460 open records requests.
The nonpartisan LAB reviewed 15,261 absentee ballot certificates in the 30 municipalities, 270 pre-election tests and other records. Both reports looked at things like felons who may have voted in the election or ballots that may have been cast by electors who died before Election Day.
The WILL report makes a series of recommendations about election administration, including establishing uniform hours for in-person absentee voting. Current law allows municipalities to begin allowing early, in-person voting no more than 14 days before an election. It also must end by the Sunday before the election. Dems have opposed proposals that would restrict that further, arguing it would disproportionately affect larger municipalities.
See the WILL report here.