Milwaukee County rejects election subpoena

Milwaukee County on Friday, Sept. 3 rejected a subpoena issued by a Republican lawmaker seeking ballots, voting machines and other material related to the 2020 presidential election, saying it was not valid.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, chairwoman of the Assembly Elections Committee, issued subpoenas to election clerks in Milwaukee and Brown counties on Aug. 6 ordering them to appear before her committee at noon on Tuesday with the requested material.

But Milwaukee County Attorney Margaret Daun said in a letter to Brandtjen on Friday that the subpoena was not valid because it was not signed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos or the Assembly's chief clerk, as required by law. She said the county would comply with any legally issued subpoena and noted it will have participated in seven reviews of the election.

"Milwaukee County’s elections are transparent and fair," Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said in a statement. Reviews done since the election, including a canvass of the vote, audit and recount ordered by former President Donald Trump, have upheld the results and shown there was no fraud or irregularities, Christenson noted.

Brown County planned to issue a response to her subpoena later Friday, said deputy county executive Jeff Flynt.

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Brandtjen issued a statement that did not directly address the county’s rejection of the subpoena.

"With the overwhelming amount of questionable election activity in Green Bay and Milwaukee, it is clear that a thorough investigation of the physical ballots, equipment and other election materials is warranted," she said. "Both Brown and Milwaukee counties need to be aware that they are bound by statute to preserve all election materials for twenty-two months."

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While Vos refused to sign Brandtjen's subpoena, he has said he would sign subpoenas sought by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is leading a separate investigation ordered by Vos. Gableman has yet to issue any subpoenas.

In addition to the Gableman investigation and Brandtjen’s subpoenas, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau is also reviewing the 2020 election. That review was also ordered by Republicans. Both are expected to be completed by the fall.

Republicans have questioned numerous aspects of the 2020 election but have produced no evidence of widespread fraud. President Joe Biden’s win over Trump by just under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin has withstood recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties and numerous state and federal lawsuits filed by Trump and his supporters. To date, only two people out of 3.3 million votes cast have been charged with election fraud.

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