MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Republican who leads the Senate Elections Committee said Monday that the GOP-ordered review of the 2020 election is riling up people who don’t understand elections and that it needs to end.
State Sen. Kathy Bernier, of Lake Hallie, said the investigation led by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman contains “made-up things” meant to play to the Republican base and she will be on hand when he comes to Chippewa County.
“Mr. Gableman is coming to my county and I will attend that meeting along with my concealed carry permit, to be perfectly honest, because it keeps jazzing up the people who think they know what they’re talking about — and they don’t,” Bernier said.
Bernier spoke at a panel discussion at the state Capitol Monday that included Ben Ginsberg, who spent nearly four decades representing Republicans in election disputes, and Bob Bauer, the White House counsel during Barack Obama’s presidency. Bernier and Ginsberg said attacks on the election will hurt Republicans in the long run because their voters will be less likely to cast ballots if they think elections are rigged.
“And so I think my advice would be to have Mr. Gableman wrap up sooner rather than later, because the longer we keep this up, the more harm … we’re going to do for Republicans,” Bernier said.
Said Ginsberg, “There is a need for an off ramp.”
Gableman has claimed without evidence that the election was stolen. More recently, he said he does “not have a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work,” the Journal Sentinel reported.
Bauer said Gableman’s comments “and the partisan context in which he received this assignment” show Gableman is not right for the job.
President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by nearly 21,000 votes, an outcome that has withstood recounts and lawsuits. False claims of widespread fraud have not been proven, with just five people out of more than 3 million who cast ballots in 2020 charged with election fraud.
Gableman was hired by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and has a budget of nearly $680,000 in taxpayer money.
“This is a charade,” Bernier said. “There’s a simple explanation for almost every single thing that people accuse election officials of doing.”