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Wisconsin: Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions

A collection of examples illustrates the prevalence of election denial in 2022 contests for the offices that will run the next elections in Wisconsin.

Published: March 29, 2022
Illustration featuring the state of Wisconsin
Brennan Center for Justice
View the entire Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions series

Below, we compile quotes from campaigns’ ads, websites, social media posts, and state­ments repor­ted in the media that illus­trate endorse­ment or oppos­i­tion to elec­tion denial — claims that the process or result of the last pres­id­en­tial elec­tion was ille­git­im­ate. Each of the candid­ates is running for an office that will play a role in admin­is­ter­ing future elec­tions in Wiscon­sin. Inform­a­tion about the finan­cing of these campaigns and those in other battle­ground states can be found here.

Governor

Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers (D) has defen­ded the 2020 elec­­tion as “safe & secure.” A campaign email claims that “our demo­cracy is in danger,” saying that Ever­s’s oppon­ents are “ampli­fy­ing Trump’s big lie” and that the advisers of one candid­ate “have been implic­ated in a plot to send fake elect­ors to steal Wiscon­sin in 2020.” Another email accuses his oppon­ents of “lies about the elec­tion and unpat­ri­otic attacks on our demo­cracy,” conclud­ing that “demo­cracy itself is on the ballot.”

Tony Evers Facebook ad

Rebecca Kleefisch

When asked in a Febru­ary radio inter­view whether Biden won the elec­tion, former Lieu­ten­ant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) said, “I think the better ques­tion is, did he win the state of Wiscon­sin fairly? And I think that answer is going to wind up being no.” Kleefisch suppor­ted audits into the 2020 elec­tion, citing voter fraud and dona­tions to fund elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion origin­at­ing from Face­book CEO Mark Zuck­er­ber­g’s char­ity. She tweeted about her plan to create a state elec­tion integ­rity agency to “stop fraud,” saying “Confid­ence in our elec­tions must be restored.”

Timothy Ramthun

The campaign website of state Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R) features his proposed resol­u­tion that, among other things, “reclaims Wiscon­sin’s 10 fraud­u­lent elect­oral ballots cast for Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris.” The alleged factual support for this includes “manip­u­la­tions” by the Mark Zuck­er­berg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life, the “stat­ist­ical impossib­il­ity” of the vote results, and “dele­tion of log file data” from voting machines. On his campaign page, Ramthun posted a video he said “vindic­ated” his work to change the elec­tion result: a Tucker Carlson segment featur­ing claims of “massive elec­tion bribery” and “elder abuse, all to wring out votes” from resid­ents of senior enters.

Jonathan Wich­mann (with­drew to run for lieu­ten­ant governor)

Face­book ads from the gubernat­orial campaign of busi­ness owner Jonathan Wich­mann (R) claimed there was “corrup­tion surround­ing state elec­tions” and suppor­ted the “effort to decer­tify the 2020 elec­tion.” On his podcast, Wich­mann called for a “forensic audit,” saying he believed that “there abso­lutely was” elec­tion fraud.

Secretary of State

In Wiscon­sin, the secret­ary of state does not admin­is­ter elec­tions; the Wiscon­sin Elec­tions Commis­sion does. That agency, like elec­tions admin­is­trat­ors in many states, has been attacked over the 2020 elec­tions. There has been a push, includ­ing by several declared candid­ates for secret­ary of state or governor, to give the secret­ary of state greater power over elec­tions.

Jay Schroeder

Jay Schroeder (R), a former town super­­visor of Menasha, Wiscon­­sin, called for “the elect­ors of Wiscon­­sin for the 2020 Pres­id­en­­tial elec­­tion to be rescin­ded” in a press release that described certain voter regis­tra­­tion stat­ist­ics as a “RED FLAG for phantom voters,” a term elec­­tion deniers use for alleg­a­­tions that iden­tit­ies of dead people are used to cast votes. Schroeder’s campaign announce­ment called for the secret­ary of state to over­see elec­tions, saying: “The days of rigging elec­tions for fraud are over.”

Justin Schmidtka

On his campaign Face­book page, Justin Schmidtka (R) shared calls to “decer­tify” the 2020 elec­tion results and “reclaim” Wiscon­sin’s elect­oral college votes. He also shared a state­ment from Trump claim­ing “cheat­ing in the 2020 elec­tion.” He has called for the “dismant­ling” of the current elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion agency, the Wiscon­sin Elec­tions Commis­sion.