Scott Bauer
Covering Wisconsin politics and news

Wisconsin counties reject subpoena for ballots, other data

September 3, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two Wisconsin counties on Friday rejected a subpoena issued by a Republican lawmaker seeking ballots, voting machines and other material related to the 2020 presidential election, saying it was not valid.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, chairwoman of the Assembly Elections Committee, issued subpoenas to election clerks in Milwaukee and Brown counties on Aug. 6 ordering them to appear before her committee at noon on Tuesday with the requested material.

But attorneys for both counties said in separate letters to Brandtjen on Friday that the subpoena was not valid because it was not signed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos or the Assembly’s chief clerk, as required by law. Milwaukee County Attorney Margaret Daun said the county would comply with any legally issued subpoena and noted it will have participated in seven reviews of the election.


“Milwaukee County’s elections are transparent and fair,” Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said in a statement. Reviews done since the election, including a canvass of the vote, audit and recount ordered by former President Donald Trump, have upheld the results and shown there was no fraud or irregularities, Christenson noted.

Brown County Attorney David Hemery also said Brandtjen had not provided any details about how the cost of her request would be covered or what steps would be taken to ensure the security of all the information she requested, including ballots and voting machines.

Brandtjen issued a statement that did not directly address the county’s rejection of the subpoena.

“With the overwhelming amount of questionable election activity in Green Bay and Milwaukee, it is clear that a thorough investigation of the physical ballots, equipment and other election materials is warranted,” she said. “Both Brown and Milwaukee counties need to be aware that they are bound by statute to preserve all election materials for twenty-two months.”

While Vos refused to sign Brandtjen’s subpoena, he has said he would sign subpoenas sought by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is leading a separate investigation ordered by Vos. Gableman has yet to issue any subpoenas.

In addition to the Gableman investigation and Brandtjen’s subpoenas, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau is also reviewing the 2020 election. That review was also ordered by Republicans. Both are expected to be completed by the fall.

Republicans have questioned numerous aspects of the 2020 election but have produced no evidence of widespread fraud. President Joe Biden’s win over Trump by just under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin has withstood recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties and numerous state and federal lawsuits filed by Trump and his supporters. To date, only two people out of 3.3 million votes cast have been charged with election fraud.