OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The audit of the 2020 election in the swing state of Wisconsin is getting intense and now the former judge who is in charge of the investigation is showing he is taking no prisoners.
Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative, has threatened using subpoenas if election officials do not comply with the audit, Newsweek reported.
Wisconsin election officials who refuse to comply with the Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 presidential election will be subpoenaed, according to the retired judge leading the investigation.
In a video released Monday, retired conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman said the state’s more than 1,900 municipal and county election officials had to cooperate with his investigation or he would “compel” them to comply.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he will sign subpoenas that are requested by Gableman as part of the investigation after formerly refusing to sign subpoenas from Representative Janel Bandtjen.
“The responsibility to demonstrate that our elections were conducted with fairness, inclusivity and accountability is on the government and on the private, for-profit interests that did work for the government,” he said in the video. “The burden is not on the people to show in advance of an investigation that public officials and their contractors behaved dishonestly.”
He addressed the calls for a forensic audit that have come from such notable people as former Sheriff David Clarke and others.
“It’s important to note that the term forensic audit is a confusing one, and it’s confusing because it has no commonly accepted definition,” he said. “Rather, the definition of each forensic audit is created by those who control that audit. The Office of Special Counsel is conducting a full investigation in order to get to the truth of what happened in our 2020 election.
He said that the investigation could include a “vigorous and comprehensive audit if the facts that are discovered justify such a course of action.” He stated his goal was “to put everything I know and everything I learned before you, the citizen, so that you can make up your own mind.”
But Gablemen has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats since he was named as the head of the investigation.
This month Republican State Sen. Kathy Bernier, who chairs the Senate elections committee, said “there is not a reason to spread misinformation about this past election when we have all the evidence that shows otherwise.”
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler said that Gableman and Vos were “wasting taxpayer funds to serve the political interests of a small group of Republican insiders who want to erode the freedom to vote. It’s a sham, a waste of time and money, and it’s damaging our democracy.”
Gableman also sent a letter to the commission making a request for election officials to preserve “any and all” records related to the election be preserved during the investigation.
“This is a notice of request for retention of records and preservation of evidence. Recently, I was appointed Special Counsel by the Wisconsin Assembly to investigate the November 3, 2020 election,” he said.
“Pursuant to the obligations of your office under state and federal law, and pursuant to that part of the legislative oversight authority of the Wisconsin Assembly which has been vested in me, I hereby request that you and your office preserve any and all records and evidence relating to the November 3, 2020 election in Wisconsin, including but not limited to information retained on any and all voting machines. Such information includes, but is not limited to, metadata, router information, and/or access logs. Please take all necessary steps to comply with this request, including notifying all clerks and custodians of records.
“Finally, please forward to this office any information relating to any and all intentional or unintentional destruction of records between the November 3, 2020 election and the date of this notice, including otherwise routine software updates to election systems that might have in the past or will in the future corrupt or erase and/ or otherwise compromise relevant records, or which might obstruct examination and investigation,” he said.