Will Wisconsin's Republicans Make Voting Meaningless, or Just Difficult?
"Democracy in this country was not dying but gone," a Wisconsin poll worker said after the 2020 recount. My latest for @NewYorker: How the state is part of a national GOP strategy to control elections and make it harder to vote.
Will Wisconsins Republicans Make Voting Meaningless, or Just Difficult?
Activists are combining voter suppression with election conspiracies to capture the state in 2022 and beyond.
8:55 AM · Jul 25, 2022
In late March, Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, was in her office in city hall, preparing for Milwaukees mayoral election, when an F.B.I. agent called. The agent was investigating death threats that Woodall-Vogg had been receiving since deciding to permit the use of drop boxes during early voting for the upcoming election. Drop boxes had long been used for absentee ballots in some Wisconsin communities, but their use increased dramatically in 2020, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. After President Donald Trumps narrow defeat in the state, the boxes became a focus of conspiracy theories claiming that the election was stolen from him.
Woodall-Vogg, along with other municipal clerks and election officials, was at the center of those conspiracy theories. She played me a few of the hundreds of threats she has received since the 2020 Presidential election. You motherfucker, one voice mail went. You rigged my fucking election. Were going to try you, and were going to fucking convict your piece-of-shit ass, and were going to hang you. Woodall-Vogg is estranged from her mother-in-law, who is a firm believer in the stolen-election conspiracy, and she no longer speaks to her husbands aunt. She said that I signed up for thisfor death threats? Woodall-Vogg said. You have to wonder if people are thinking very deeply about what theyre doing. Do they realize what the alternatives are to a functioning democracy?
Approximately 3.3 million ballots were cast in the 2020 election in Wisconsin, and Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by nearly twenty-one thousand votes. To date, according to the Associated Press, twenty-four people have been charged with voter fraud. Neither state nor independent reviews found evidence of widespread fraud. More than ten lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies were dismissed by various courts, and recounts in Dane and Milwaukee Counties, the states two most populous counties and the only ones where the Trump campaign requested recounts, confirmed Bidens victory.
And yet conspiracy theories about the election continue to circulate, fuelled, in large part, by Republican politicians and Party officials. Representative Janel Brandtjen, who believes that Trump won the election, is the chairwoman of the State Assemblys campaigns-and-elections committee, and she regularly holds hearings propagating conspiracy theories. The state legislature has also created a sprawling, taxpayer-funded voter-fraud investigation led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has said that the election was stolen and has called for jailing the mayors of Green Bay and Madison. Republican elected officials, including Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos, have suggested that five of the six members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is governed by three Democrats and three Republicans, should be criminally prosecuted for allowing clerks to more easily send absentee ballots to nursing-home residents during the height of the pandemic. More than sixty per cent of the states Republicans now believe the election was stolen, a figure that both reflects the persistent attacks on Wisconsins election infrastructure and creates a justification for escalating them.
That Republicans werent just after Wisconsin they were after EVERYTHING.
Since Walker recall, during which DNC basically ignored us even on DU we heard:
WI got what they voted for ..
Whats wrong with WI ..
We in WI knew that they would go after the other States.
Now Republicans control more than WI.