MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of Wisconsin's top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday he is hiring retired police officers to investigate the presidential election won by President Joe Biden in the battleground state.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is joining Republicans across the country in their continued push for repeated examinations of ballots. Assembly Republicans passed a resolution in March authorizing an investigation, and they've also ordered the state's nonpartisan audit bureau to look into the election.
Biden defeated Trump by about 20,600 votes in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Wednesday on Vos hiring the retired police to do the investigation. Vos, in an interview with The Associated Press, said his intent was to get to the bottom of complaints Republicans have received.
“The election is in the rear view mirror,” Vos told the AP. “Do I think there were irregularities? I certainly do.”
A Georgia judge last week awarded a group the chance to review mail ballots in a large Georgia county that includes Atlanta. Officials in a rural Michigan county on Tuesday debated a review of their voting machines. A similar debate has caused sharp divisions in a New Hampshire town. In some cases, the efforts have been inspired by an audit of the votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County, an elaborate exercise engineered by the GOP-led state Senate. The reviews are unlikely to uncover any new revelations about the election.
Vos said the three retired police officers he hired, who will be overseen by an attorney, will have subpoena powers but his intent was not to bring charges against anyone but rather to build evidence for potential law changes. The investigation will be paid for by taxpayers but Vos said he didn’t know how much it would cost.
Vos said he hoped to have results of the investigation by the fall, around the same time that the audit is complete. He said the probe by retired police would be a fair way to look into the complaints Republicans have received.
“The attorney general won't do it,” Vos said, referring to Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. “The Evers administration certainly won't do it.”
Vos said his goal was to have Evers, who is a Democrat, be persuaded by evidence gathered during the investigation to sign election reform bills into law that the GOP-led Legislature passes.
Ann Jacobs, a Democrat who leads the Wisconsin Elections Commission, told the Journal Sentinel that she's worried the investigation will undermine confidence in an election that was conducted properly.
“I think it's unfortunate that the Legislature is using its resources to investigate what has already been thoroughly investigated and it is my hope that instead they could work toward expanding opportunities and ease of voting for Wisconsin voters,” Jacobs said.
Scott Bauer, The Associated Press