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.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission’s technology director picked apart a series of claims about the state’s voter rolls that he said were false, misleading and based on a fundamental lack of understanding about how WisVote works.

Robert Kehoe kicked off his presentation to the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee yesterday by telling members he’s not offended by “informed, legitimate criticism of the system.” But he also bemoaned falsehoods that cause the agency to spend hours “chasing ghosts” and focus on “imaginary anxieties.”

Kehoe’s presentation came a week after the committee heard from Peter Bernegger, a convicted felon who scanned votes from various communities as part of his review of the 2020 election and claimed there were thousands of votes cast by “fake voters.”

Kehoe pointed to the claim that a registration by a person named Ambrose Aadventure was an obviously false voter registration. He said it took 30 seconds of searching circuit court records to find the person had actually lawfully changed his name, and his registration Ambrose Aadventure matched Department of Transportation records.

He said his research took minutes to confirm the registration was legitimate.

“That’s what due diligence looks like,” Kehoe said.

The committee has heard from a series of people who have made claims about the state’s voter registration system to suggest there were problems with the 2020 election. Kehoe noted he didn’t create the system and there are ways to improve it. He knocked down various claims he said were easily explained.

For example, concerns have been raised about dozens or hundreds of voter registrations at a single address. Last week’s presentation focused on one address in Madison near campus listed by hundreds who voted in the 2020 election. Kehoe noted the address is one of the largest apartment complexes in the city.

Another claim raised focused on registrations with two people of similar names at the same address. His slide show included several examples of people who have the same first and last name, but a different middle initial.

Kehoe noted the examples all have different birthdays, different driver’s license numbers and have an average age difference of about 25 years. His hunch is they are related and live at the same home.

“There is a shocking and frightening claim, still without one single example,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe and Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe also sought to explain mistakes with WisVote that were highlighted at last week’s hearing. That includes, for example, data entry errors that had some voters registered multiple times.

They also sought to explain why inactive registrations remain on WisVote, saying it is done to maintain a complete record for voters who, for example, have been registered at multiple sites. They also stressed those inactive registrations aren’t added to the poll books that are used at the polls on election days.

At the outset, Kehoe said he wasn’t going to try to knock down every inaccurate claim made about the 2020 election.

Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, complained that the Elections Commission should be doing just that to assure voters of the concerns that have been raised. He also complained about Kehoe using terms such as “chasing ghosts.”

“When you use those terms, you present a bias to the folks who are hearing this,” he said.

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