Wisconsin GOP Official Says State Legislature Won't Take Over Awarding Electoral Votes

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is reiterating that the state's Legislature won't take all of the state's electoral votes in 2024.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Vos tried to quell the fears of Democrats by denying that only Republicans will be able to award the state's 10 electoral votes in the next presidential election. This statement comes one day after he announced that he hopes an investigation into voting integrity in regards to the 2020 presidential election will be complete by the end of the month.

"There is zero chance as long as I am speaker that we are going to have the Legislature take over awarding electors and all those kind of things," Vos said to the AP. "It's not going to happen. That's just a false argument. We're going to win the election because we're going to change the rules to make sure that they're fair to everybody, not to one side."

He also accused Democrats of fearmongering amongst their voting base. Vos has been a vocal critic of the validity of the 2020 presidential election, despite repeated investigations showing that President Joe Biden won it fairly.

"It's not about taking away anyone's right to vote," he explained. "It's about making sure that everybody has the same access without some people getting special privileges."

Robin Vos 2021
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Associated Press in an interview on Friday, January 7, that there is "zero chance" the GOP-controlled state Legislature will take over awarding the state's 10 presidential elector votes in 2024. Above, members of the state Assembly applaud Vos as he speaks at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File

His comments come after Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson in November told lawmakers that he wanted them to take over elections and tell local officials to ignore the work of the state's elections commission.

There has been an intense focus on Wisconsin and its election laws since President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by nearly 21,000 votes in 2020. Trump and his allies falsely claimed the election was stolen, and some Republican lawmakers have pushed conspiracy theories and other baseless claims in attempts to undo the results and make wholesale changes before the 2024 presidential election.

Similar efforts by Republicans are ongoing in other states.

"This idea that we need to blow up the entire system? I just don't see that," Vos told the AP. "I do not favor some kind of a radical change to how the elections commission operates."

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu made similar comments earlier this week.

The Legislature's role in elections should be the same as it is with other state agencies, which is approving administrative rules that those agencies put forward to enact laws that were passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, Vos said.

Some Republicans are calling for the dissolution of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, which the Legislature voted to create in 2015. Vos said he wants to see that commission continue to operate in its current role, with some modifications but that he opposes shifting the responsibility of running elections to the Legislature.

Vos said the Assembly plans to vote on elections bills in March, after a report on the 2020 election being led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is completed. Vos said he wants that report to be finished no later than the end of February and that he does not anticipate spending any more than the $676,000 in taxpayer money he allotted for the investigation last year.

There are numerous pending lawsuits related to the probe, including a fight over subpoenas Gableman issued to the elections commission and the mayors of Green Bay and Madison.

Vos said the Republican bills will address Gableman's recommendations and concerns raised by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau in a report it issued last fall and findings made by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

One of the audit bureau's findings that has particularly angered Republicans is that the elections commission did not follow the law when it voted not to send poll workers into nursing homes to assist elderly residents with voting in 2020. The vote came at a time when most nursing homes were not allowing visitors due to the pandemic. The commission directed clerks to mail absentee ballots to people in nursing homes who had requested them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wisconsin, Election Commission, Devin LeMahieu, 2020 Election
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Associated Press that GOP legislators in the state will not take voting rights for the 10 electoral votes given to the state. Here, barricades are seen in front of the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting former President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images