Republicans legislators order audit of Wisconsin election

February 11, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican state lawmakers ordered an audit of Wisconsin’s election on Thursday, three months after Donald Trump’s narrow loss that was affirmed during a partial recount and following rejection of several lawsuits alleging wrongdoing.

The GOP-controlled Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted along party lines to order the audit to be conducted by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. It will examine such issues as how the state maintains its voter rolls and when it allows voters to get absentee ballots without showing identification, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Rep. Samantha Kerkman, a Salem Lakes Republican and co-chairwoman of the committee, said she wanted to make sure voters are confident that elections are fair.

No significant problems were found with Wisconsin’s voting machines after audits and recounts in 2016 and 2020. All of the lawsuits by Trump and his allies alleging widespread problems with the election this year were rejected.

Democrats said they trusted State Auditor Joe Chrisman to handle the proposed review fairly, but that they fear Republicans will use it to disparage an election that Joe Biden won by fewer than 21,000 votes.

The audit will take months to complete.

Also Thursday, another legislative committee effectively told the Wisconsin Elections Commission that it needs to change how it handles voting at nursing homes.

Because of the pandemic, the commission has told clerks to mail absentee ballots to nursing homes instead of delivering them by hand and assisting residents with voting, as spelled out in state law.

Commissioners have said last year’s approach was necessary because many nursing homes weren’t allowing visitors. But Republican lawmakers said they don’t have that power because of the way the state law is written.

The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules on party lines approved a motion Thursday telling the commission to stop issuing such guidance unless it gets permission from lawmakers.

The commission plans to discuss the issue next month.