GOP Election Audit Demands Info on Dominion Voting Machines in Cities That Don't Use Them

A review of the 2020 election launched by State Assembly Republicans in Wisconsin subpoenaed officials for information on Dominion Voting Systems machines in cities that don't use them.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman—who is leading the GOP-backed election review—issued the subpoenas this week against officials in Green Bay and Madison as well as other state agencies and municipalities, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Friday. Although Green Bay and Madison do not use Dominion machines, the subpoenas demanded that the cities provide their serial numbers and details about software updates, as well as communications with the voting systems company.

"The City of Madison uses the ES&S DS200 tabulator and the ES&S ExpressVote. Dominion voting machines are not used in Madison, Wisconsin," City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl confirmed to Newsweek in a Saturday email.

The subpoenas from Gableman included a number of other "errors" and misspelled or wrong names for some officials, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Despite leading the audit of the 2020 election, Gableman previously admitted that he does not have a good understanding of how the process works in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin ballots
A Republican-backed review of the 2020 election results in Wisconsin subpoenaed officials in Green Bay and Madison for information about Dominion Voting Systems machines that are not used there. Above, election work on November 20, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis/Getty Images

"Most people, myself included, do not have a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work," Gableman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in October. The former judge has been given a $676,000 taxpayer budget for his election review.

"Attorney Gableman and his team are yet again demonstrating that they have learned nothing about election administration in Wisconsin. Their 'investigation' is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars," Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway told Newsweek.

Right-wing conspiracy theorists, fueled by former President Donald Trump's claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, have claimed that Dominion helped Democrats "steal" votes for President Joe Biden. These claims have been consistently debunked and discredited by election experts, and Trump allies have not provided evidence substantiating the allegations.

While Trump and various Republicans contend that the last presidential election in Wisconsin was fraudulent, previous recounts and audits have consistently reaffirmed Biden's relatively narrow win in the swing state. Biden won the Midwestern state by a margin just shy of 21,000 votes. Although Trump narrowly carried the state in 2016, Democratic presidential candidates had won there in every election going back to 1988.

GOP state senator Robert Cowles, a co-chair for the Legislature's Audit Committee that conducted a review of the 2020 election, confirmed in October that his committee did not uncover any significant fraud. "Despite concerns with statewide elections procedures, this audit showed us that the election was largely safe and secure," Cowles tweeted at the time.

Similarly, a Republican-aligned group—the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty—released a report in December that concluded there was "no evidence of fraudulent ballots or widespread voter fraud." That 10-month review uncovered only limited instances in which ineligible people tried to cast ballots in Wisconsin, with most of those ballots being rejected. Those reviewers confirmed there were no significant issues with voting machines in the state.

Nonetheless, many conservatives insist there was significant fraud in the last presidential election in Wisconsin and across the country. Trump and his allies—such as MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, former White House strategist Steve Bannon and retired Lt. General Michael Flynn—continue to claim that the election was stolen for Biden. No evidence has emerged to corroborate the allegation.

To the contrary, more than 60 election challenge lawsuits filed by the former president and his supporters failed in state and federal courts. Even judges appointed by Trump and other Republicans have dismissed the lawsuits. Meanwhile, audits and recounts in states across the country—including in places where the elections were overseen by pro-Trump Republicans—have consistently reaffirmed Biden's victory.

Newsweek reached out to the city clerk of Green Bay for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

This article was updated with a comment from the Madison clerk's office and the city's mayor.