MADISON – Assembly Republicans’ review of the 2020 election has expanded outside of Wisconsin with subpoenas to two companies that manufacture voting machines and software.
Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in December issued orders to Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems and Electronic Systems & Software of Nebraska seeking records related to the location of the companies’ voting machines in Wisconsin during the primary and general elections in 2020. Gableman also seeks information about staff members who worked on Wisconsin machines or communicated with anyone in Wisconsin during that period.
Gableman’s subpoenas, first reported by WisPolitics, demand company officials produce the requested documents later this month and order them to testify in private at the former Supreme Court justice’s rented office space in Brookfield. Gableman set a series of deadlines to receive the documents and testimony, with the earliest on Wednesday.
It is unclear what authority Gableman and Assembly Republicans have to demand information from out-of-state entities. They have no easy way to get the companies to comply with their subpoenas since neither is based in Wisconsin.
Multiple phone calls to Gableman and a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos were not returned Friday. Officials with Dominion and Electronic Systems & Software also did not respond to questions from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Vos hired Gableman and gave him a $676,000 taxpayer-funded budget to review the outcome of the 2020 election and how the election was administered. The effort was launched as former President Donald Trump put pressure on Vos and other Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin to do more to support his false claim that he was the winner of the 2020 election.
President Joe Biden beat Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin — a result that has been confirmed by recounts paid for by Trump, multiple court rulings and a statewide audit that revealed no widespread problems that could change the election’s outcome.
Gableman was hired in June 2021 by Vos with the expectation he would wrap up his review by fall. Vos later extended his deadline to the end of 2021 and now has negotiated an extension to Gableman’s contract. Vos said last week he wanted recommendations from Gableman by the end of February.
With a subpoena to Dominion, Gableman is targeting a company that has been at the center for many conspiracy theories advanced by Trump and his allies in the days and weeks following Trump’s defeat.
The company’s machines are not used in Milwaukee, Madison and other cities with heavy concentrations of Democratic voters that Gableman has focused on.
Dominion filed a series of defamation lawsuits last year against Trump allies over spreading false claims that the company’s machines changed the true outcome of the election by flipping votes for Trump to Biden’s column.
The subpoenas to the voting machine companies were dated Dec. 28, the same day Gableman sent a raft of new subpoenas to the state Elections Commission and officials in the state’s five largest cities.
The cities provided Gableman with numerous documents on Thursday and Friday but said in some cases he had asked for too much. Attorneys for Green Bay and Madison sent him pointed letters saying they would not give him the birth dates or Social Security numbers of voters in response to his demand for all information about voters held by their computer systems.
They also questioned whether Gableman had the authority to act on behalf of the Assembly Elections Committee given that his contract with the state was set to expire at the end of last year.
“We respectfully request that you provide written evidence of your continued and current appointment by the Wisconsin State Assembly as legal counsel or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the Committee,” Madison City Attorney Michael Haas wrote in a Friday letter to Gableman.
Gableman has been meeting with partisans and election conspiracy theorists as he has conducted his work. In December, he told the Chippewa County Republican Party that he had seen no signs that Wisconsin’s voting machines were hacked but believed they were vulnerable to hacks.
His comments came two months after he told a reporter he did not have an understanding of how elections work.
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