A committee in Wisconsin's Republican-led legislature held an election-related hearing Friday, seeking insights into allegations of irregularities in the Nov. 3 election, including whether there was fraudulent third-party intervention, obstruction to meaningful observation, and if voters listing themselves as "indefinitely confined" amounted to fraud.
Ahead of the hearing, Republican Assemblyman Ron Tusler, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, told The Epoch Times about the intent of the meeting.
“We want folks to understand what happened in the November 3rd election, and to have a good sense of whether it was a fair and accurate election, which folks cannot believe it is. And we’re going to hear from a lot of those folks, and then we can kind of assess whether there’s work to be done after that based on what they say,” Tusler said.
Tulser opened the hearing, calling for a non-partisan examination of the evidence presented, saying, "take off your red hat or your blue hat and be a neutral juror in this case."
He said that his office has received "over half a million contacts from people in Wisconsin that do not trust the results of this election," adding, "Our witnesses today are of the highest moral fiber, receiving no taxpayer compensation, testifying on your behalf, so that you have an opportunity to properly assess our fears and concerns regarding the November 3 election."
The first witness to speak was Dan O'Donnell, a radio talk show host and investigative journalist, who claimed that the right to vote in Wisconsin "has been perverted by fraud allowed to run so rampant by the very people we trust to administer our elections, that the most vulnerable among us are having their most sacred right, the right to vote, stolen from them."
O'Donnell gave an account of a disability service coordinator who he identified only as "Susan," who works with severely developmentally disabled adults who live various assisted living facilities in and around Milwaukee. He said Susan told him that around two dozen of her clients told her that they were pressured by third parties to cast a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, or had votes cast for Biden in their name.
"Those caregivers betrayed their trust," he said.
He also alleged state elections laws were broken by the Wisconsin Elections Committee (WEC) on a number of occasions, with the intent "to influence the outcome of last month’s election."
He said WEC did not rebuke clerks in two counties for issuing guidance that because of the ongoing pandemic and the Governor’s stay at home order, every single voter, regardless of whether they themselves were actually indefinitely confined, could claim that status without evidence, allowing voters to potentially bypass state law requiring proof of an ID to request and cast an absentee ballot.
O'Donnell said that this resulted in 46,000 voters in Milwaukee and Dane Counties casting votes "without having to show a photo ID, ever, in direct violation of Wisconsin law."
He also alleged that WEC was legally required to remove 200,000 old names from voter rolls, but didn’t, and that it "looked the other way when the city of Madison held illegal ballot harvesting operations in 206 city parks and coordinated with the Biden campaign in promoting them.”
O'Donnell also alleged that WEC instructed municipal clerks across the state to ignore state law and illegally fill out mail and witness addresses instead of returning the ballot envelopes to voters to correct as the law requires.
"All of these decisions violated the clear letter and intent of state law," O'Donnell said. "And obviously, all were designed to influence the outcome of last month's election."
WEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.
Dean Knudson, a member of the Wisconsin Election Commission who spoke at the hearing, acknowledged that some election fraud takes place in every election, despite numerous safeguards in place. In recent statewide elections, fraudulent ballots typically numbered in the dozens to the hundreds, he said, noting that this is typically from people who double vote or cast a ballot despite being convicted felons.
Knudson said a number of steps were taken after the 2016 election to shore up election integrity, including increasing the number of post-election voting machine audits.
"I have not seen credible evidence of large-scale voter fraud in Wisconsin during the November election," Knudson said.
“In Wisconsin, there were no dumps of ballots during the night, none,” he added. “The number of voters on our poll books match the numbers of ballots cast,” he said.
Knudson acknowledged that, due to the pandemic, voters made a "huge transition to absentee voting" and that "this huge shift to absentee revealed some ambiguities and weaknesses in our current voting laws."
"I hope these legal disputes currently in the courts clear up questions about the legality of long standing practices like clerks adding missing witness addresses, using the ballot envelope itself as a dual purpose absentee request, and many other questions about allowable means of returning absentee ballots," he added.
He said that anyone who witnessed wrongful conduct by elections officials needs to file a sworn statement detailing their allegations and submit it to the Elections Commission. Knudson said not a single such complaint has been filed regarding officials adding or correcting witness addresses.
"None have done so," he said. "When the Elections Commission gets it, a decision will be issued, every one of those decisions can be appealed to court."
"Today, there are still open questions with the potential to alter the outcome of this election," he said, adding that he expects they'll all be decided in the next several days.
"I would be surprised if the issues over state law lead to any large-scale change in votes in Wisconsin," due to the lack of complaints filed with the Elections Commission, he said, and encouraged members of the committee to work towards bipartisan legislation "to clarify our laws and reduce future controversy over election practices."