Ballots are stored in boxes and bags as workers recount Milwaukee County's ballots at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Adam Kelnhofer, WisPolitics.com, Nov. 23, 2020.

Conservative Attorney James Bopp told an Assembly committee efforts to decertify the results of the last presidential election in Wisconsin serve “zero legal purpose.”

Bopp, who has represented former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman during his investigation into the last election, told an Assembly Elections and Campaigns public hearing yesterday the chance to decertify passed after Jan. 6 last year.

Gableman has asked lawmakers to “take a hard look” at decertifying the results of that election. Bopp led multiple lawsuits seeking to disqualify hundreds of thousands of votes from predominantly Democratic cities shortly after the last election.

“You had the authority in late November, alright? If you felt that the election was so corrupt, and that the results needed to be, you needed to intervene, you could have intervened,” he said. “You had the power under the Constitution, and that would have been respected; and certified your own electors.”

Gableman attended the hearing, but did not speak. Gubernatorial candidate and Rep. Tim Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, and former Menomonee Falls Village President Jefferson Davis were among those attending the hearing who have advocated for decertification.

Bopp added he feels there were significant irregularities with the last presidential election and he’s upset about it too, but seeking to decertify the results is a fruitless endeavor.

“The respect for our elections has plummeted because of that in many places, but it serves zero legal purpose, and — in my opinion — useful purpose, to be talking about doing something like decertification,” he said. “That is pointless. What we need to be concentrating on is making the reforms that are necessary to correct the situation and that will have an effect.”

Ahead of Bopp, members of a group called True the Vote alleged rampant ballot stuffing at absentee ballot drop boxes in Milwaukee and other major Democratic cities in Wisconsin.

But they failed to provide specific evidence.

True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said her group does not know how votes were collected and allegedly stuffed into ballot drop boxes, but she believes there was “voter abuse.”

True the Vote originated in Texas in 2009, growing out of the Tea Party movement. Gregg Phillips, one of the group’s board members, also at the hearing said he believes cell phone location data show 138 people in Wisconsin’s five biggest municipalities visited drop boxes a combined 3,568 times, and there could be more.

Phillips said he acquired the data through a commercial database.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission in a backgrounder ahead of the event pointed out such cell phone data does not prove a crime was committed.

“Data allegedly showing cell phones that were tracked multiple times near absentee ballot
drop boxes is, alone, not evidence of a crime,” the document reads.

When Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, asked for more information on who those 138 people were, Phillips said he had that information, but he did not provide any names at the hearing.

Phillips did say his group identified those 138 people by determining which cell phones pinged near five non-governmental organizations and 26 drop box locations between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Engelbrecht alleged many of those pings came from people visiting multiple public libraries where drop boxes were located multiple times per night after business hours.

When Rep. Donna Rozar, R-Marshfield, asked for examples of the NGOs, Phillips said he could not provide them.

“We’ve got several things ongoing related to some legal strategies and some other matters,” he said.

Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg in an email told WisPolitics.com True the Vote’s work is promoting a conspiracy.

“I think this is another example of presenting a conspiracy without providing clear, transparent data to support it,” she said. “I would like to know what the NGOs are, what kind of services they provide, etc.”

Earlier in the hearing, Phillips said mail-in ballots, drop boxes, messy voter rolls and bad practices across the country and in Wisconsin amount to “organized crime.”

But when Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, asked if True the Vote had shared their information with law enforcement, Engelbrecht said no.

“We would love to share this with law enforcement, and if anybody here can make that connection, that we’d love that,” Engelbrecht said.

Subeck responded True the Vote members could reach out to law enforcement themselves without an intermediary.

“I’m surprised to hear if you have that kind of evidence that you have not actually done that,” she said. “It seems that that would have been a very logical first step.”

Woodall-Vogg said there is nothing illegal about one person assisting others with returning their ballots to drop boxes. She also offered an explanation for at least some of True the Vote’s claims that multiple people made several trips to ballot drop boxes to allegedly submit more than just their own ballots.

“I could imagine many elderly voters asking someone to assist them returning ballots to drop boxes,” she said. “Also, libraries provide other vital services such as computer labs, after-school programming, etc, where a community member could be assisting someone and going back and forth.”

She also balked at Phillips’ organized crime charge.

“Finally, he calls us administering elections effectively in a global pandemic with additional funding that was transparently spent an ‘organized crime,'” she said. “That is not factual, supported by any evidence, and quite frankly, offensive.”

 

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