Wisconsin election subpoenas, voting machine company won't comply

A Nebraska-based voting machine company told the Republican-hired attorney leading an investigation into the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin that it will not comply with subpoenas issued seeking a broad array of information.

Attorneys for Election Systems & Software (ES&S) told former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in a letter dated Jan. 21 that it would not comply, calling the subpoenas issued last month a "quintessential fishing expedition."

Gableman has subpoenaed the mayors of Wisconsin's five largest cities, the state's top elections official, an immigrant rights group, ES&S and Dominion Voting Systems as part of his ongoing probe ordered after President Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the battleground state.

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Subpoenas to the elections commission, Voces de la Frontera and mayors of Green Bay and Madison are being fought in court.

ES&S made clear it will not comply, telling Gableman in the letter that the company "is under no obligation to respond to any of the subpoenas." The letter was signed by attorneys Michael Cox, Daniel Fischer and Michael Maistelman.

Michael Gableman

Cox and Fischer are based in Omaha, Nebraska, the headquarters of ES&S. Maistelman, who is in Milwaukee, declined to elaborate Thursday on the correspondence.

"The letter speaks for itself," Maistelman said.

In part, the attorneys said the subpoenas were not properly served and that Gableman can't compel ES&S to turn over records that would take weeks or months to produce and are in Nebraska, not Wisconsin. Additionally, they said Gableman can't force someone from the company to sit for a closed-door interview.

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Gableman's ability to question mayors and the state's elections administrator in private is also being challenged in the other lawsuits.

A judge earlier this month did not block the subpoenas to the elections administrator but also put off a ruling on whether they are valid. Republicans are trying to have the case dismissed.

The ES&S letter calls the subpoenas "quintessential fishing expeditions casting their nets as wide as possible in the hopes that something which might actually be sought is caught within the net but amidst the thousands upon thousands of other documents and pages that have no relevancy to the matter."

The attorneys said the request appeared to be for every communication the company had over a two-year period related to elections in Wisconsin, including proprietary information about software code for voting machines.

Gableman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Biden's victory by just under 21,000 votes over Trump has withstood multiple recounts, lawsuits and reviews. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired Gableman to investigate at a cost of $676,000 in taxpayer money.

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