Lawmakers, officials react to claims made in Gableman election report

MADISON, Wis. — As former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman spent several hours Tuesday presenting his report on the state’s 2020 presidential election, Wisconsin’s Democratic governor and attorney general criticized the findings as “a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Gableman’s report, which totaled more than 130 pages, made several recommendations, including dissolving the Wisconsin Elections Commission and taking a “hard look” at decertifying election results — something that several Republicans have said is impossible and illegal.

RELATED: In report, Gableman calls for impossible: To take a ‘hard look’ at decertifying Wisconsin election

“The right to vote is a fundamental core value of our democracy—it should not be subject to the whim of politicians. No politician should be able to abuse their power to prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots or to cheat our election results just because they didn’t like the outcome of the last election,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement.

Gableman’s report also suggested lawmakers work to limit “pre-voting” and the ability of election clerks to participate in “get out the vote” activities.

Attorney General Josh Kaul called the Gableman recommendations a “full-throated attack on our democracy” due to the suggestion that the Legislature could overturn the vote of the people.

“The report provides a roadmap for attempting to overturn the will of the voters based on a fringe legal theory,” Kaul said in his statement. “It includes recommendations that would restrict access to voting and make it harder to detect fraud. And it disparages due process and public records requests because they are inconvenient to certain individuals with power.”

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Jim Steineke, who is retiring from the Assembly, tweeted during Gableman’s presentation that he would “do everything possible” to stop any effort “to put politicians in charge of deciding who wins or loses elections.” Steineke has repeatedly maintained he believes it would be illegal for the Legislature to decertify electors.

“Reminder: Giving politicians that power when you don’t like the results of an election will also give them the authority to overturn elections when you do,” Steineke tweeted.

Multiple recounts and non-partisan reviews of the election, along with a partisan review from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, confirmed President Joe Biden won Wisconsin’s presidential election and found no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the outcome.

Wisconsin taxpayers are paying for the $676,000 Gableman investigation, which was organized by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Vos, who has similarly stated that decertification isn’t legally possible, did not comment on Gableman’s call for considering decertification in a brief statement issued Tuesday afternoon thanking Gableman for his service.

The full statement reads:

“I’d like to thank the Office of Special Counsel for their tireless efforts in finding the truth. They’ve done a good job at showing there were issues in 2020, and the report is intended to ‘help correct these processes for future elections.’ Unfortunately, we’re experiencing obstruction by ligation, and must first get through the nine separate lawsuits that have been filed to allow us to complete the review.”