Wisconsin Elections Commission rejects complaint against Trump fake electors for a second time

For a second time, the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission has unanimously rejected a complaint against fake presidential electors who attempted to cast the state's ballots for former President Donald Trump in 2020 despite the victory by President Joe Biden.

Associated Press

December 20, 2023

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Multiple people who are wearing different types of surgical and respirator masks sit on either side of a long table with a purse and papers on its surface, with other people standing in the background of a room with an entryway with obscure glass windows on either side and in a wood door.

A photo taken in a meeting room in the Wisconsin State Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, shows state Elections Commission member Bob Spindell, seated at right, and other Republican Party activists who signed fake documents as part of scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election victory in the state by Joe Biden in favor of Donald Trump. Without the participation of Spindell following a court order, the commission unanimously rejected a complaint against the fake electors. (Source: Dane County Circuit Court)

AP News

By Scott Bauer, AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission, for a second time, has unanimously rejected a complaint against fake presidential electors who attempted to cast the state’s ballots for Donald Trump in 2020.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission first rejected the complaint in March 2022. But a judge in May 2023 ordered the commission to rehear the complaint, this time without one of its members who served as one of the fake electors for the former president.

The commission released its unanimous 5-0 decision to reject the complaint on Dec. 20 without explaining why. The elections commission’s discussion of the complaint, as well as its vote on Tuesday, was conducted in closed meetings.

The complaint asked the elections commission to investigate the fake electors’ actions and declare that they broke the law.

In 2022, when it rejected the complaint the first time, the commission attached a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that said that Republicans who attempted to cast the state’s 10 electoral college votes for Trump did not break any election laws. The state Justice Department concluded that Republicans were legitimately trying to preserve Trump’s legal standing as courts were deciding if he or Biden won the election.

Fake electors met in Wisconsin and other battleground states that Trump lost in 2020, attempting to cast ballots for the former president even though he lost. Republicans who participated in Wisconsin said they were trying to preserve Trump’s legal standing in case his defeat was overturned in court.

The fake electors settled a lawsuit filed against them by Democrats seeking more than $2 million in damages. The case is proceeding against two of Trump’s attorneys.

Under the settlement, the Madison-based liberal law firm Law Forward which filed the original complaint with the elections commission against the electors agreed to withdraw the second complaint. But the elections commission was still free to take action on the complaint, which its attorney noted on Dec. 20 when announcing it was rejected.

One of the Wisconsin fake electors was Bob Spindell, a Republican member of the elections commission. He voted to reject the complaint in 2022, but did not participate this time after he agreed that his involvement was improper. There have been calls for Spindell to be removed from the elections commission over his role as a fake elector.

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