Two Wisconsin Republican state lawmakers said that Wisconsin should authorize an audit of the 2020 election that’s similar to the one that’s being conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona, after they traveled to the county to observe the process.
State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a Republican who chairs the Campaigns and Elections Committee, said that a review of the election is needed due to the significant amount of private funding that was used in several major cities in Wisconsin, according to WisPolitics. However, the lawmaker said she isn’t sure if the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau has that authority.
“Listen, we need to restore integrity as we have huge numbers of individuals that have questions about a process that’s become highly politicized,” Brandtjen said of the state’s election procedures.
President Joe Biden was certified as the winner of Wisconsin’s 11 electoral votes over former President Donald Trump by a slim margin during the 2020 contest.
Wisconsin Rep. Dave Murphy told a local news website that he believes Wisconsin should conduct a similar audit, while asserting that mainstream media outlets have distorted the audit.
Over the past several weeks, auditors have been reviewing 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, which has drawn scrutiny from not only media outlets, but from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I think the press is trying to spin it in a different direction. It feels like they’re always trying to spin it in the most devious type of way that they possibly can,” Murphy told WisPolitics.
In an interview with the Journal-Sentinel, he said that he had to gain the approval of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, before going to Arizona last weekend.
The lawmaker added that he met with the CEO of Florida-based firm CyberNinjas, which is leading the audit, while in Arizona.
“This was a very buttoned-down operation,” Murphy said. “The precision and security that I saw there was unbelievable.”
Auditors started in April their review of ballots, election systems, and voting machines involved in the Nov. 3 election in Maricopa County. Stating they expect to complete their work by the end of June, the auditors noted that they would produce a report about their findings. Some Arizona state Republicans recently vowed to take action should any irregularities be found.
Democrats, including Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, have continually decried the Arizona audit, saying it’s unorthodox and partisan.
“The procedures have continued to change,” Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a June 13 interview. “The adherence to security practices has been very lax.”
In late May, Vos told local media outlets that he will hire three retired law enforcement officials to investigate the state’s election process, noting that they’ll work with an Assembly committee with investigatory powers.
“We need to have a fact basis to continue to show the public in Wisconsin that, number one, we continue to take these irregularities seriously, and that at the end of the day, the laws that we proposed are based on facts in addition to anecdotes,” Vos told the Wisconsin State Journal last month.
After returning from Arizona, Murphy said that those three investigators hired by Vos will only answer to the speaker and his aides—not the Assembly Elections Committee.
“On the one hand, I have to give the speaker credit for bringing in the three investigators and the attorney to oversee that,” he said in a radio interview. “On the other hand, they are in charge of that operation, not our committee.”
Republicans have, since the conclusion of the November election, said that outside groups—including the partially Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life—provided support in some of Wisconsin’s largest cities. Five of the biggest cities received some $6.3 million from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, an organization Republicans have suggested is partisan in nature and needs to be investigated.
Vos’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.