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Despite GOP claim, few valid voter fraud claims in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — When Donald Trump continued to falsely claim in December that massive fraud and other voting irregularities had cost him a second term, top Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature said they were reviewing thousands of complaints about the election.

But the majority of them were mass-generated form letters making nonspecific claims about alleged irregularities, a right-wing fraud-finding effort and a clip from Fox’s Sean Hannity show, according to an investigation by a Wisconsin newspaper. Others implored Republican lawmakers to overturn an election they were convinced was rigged, even though local, state and national officials have confirmed its integrity.

The Wisconsin State Journal was able to identify just 28 allegations of election fraud or other irregularities that were specific enough to attempt to verify. The newspaper could only partially substantiate one, involving 42 votes.

Interviews with dozens of prosecutors, election officials and people who lodged complaints made clear that most, if not all, of the allegations could be chalked up to hearsay or minor administrative errors.

In one case, Nicole Granato, of Menasha, said she pored through publicly available obituaries and the state’s voter information website and found 42 people who voted early but who died before Election Day. Under state law, that means their votes shouldn’t have been counted.

Granato provided records from the state’s MyVote website, which allows people to track a person’s voting history if they have the voter’s name and date of birth.

Granato acknowledged to the State Journal there’s no way to know how those 42 people voted and that the small number of votes weren’t enough to swing the presidential election.

Wisconsin law instructs clerks not to count absentee votes from people who have died before the election if they have proof they are in fact deceased, but in the absence of such proof, “The casting of the ballot of a deceased elector does not invalidate the election.”

Republican Rep. Ron Tusler said the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, which he chaired last session, has so far substantiated one case of voter fraud, a Cedarburg woman who was charged in November after she allegedly submitted an absentee ballot for her dead partner.

Yet Tusler continued to insist, without evidence, that the November election was more fraudulent than any previous election while acknowledging that, “I don’t believe it will add up to enough votes to doubt President Joe Biden’s success.”

Biden won the state by 20,682 votes.

Tusler and Sen. Kathy Bernier, who chairs the Senate’s elections committee, released more than 10,000 pages of emails to the State Journal in response to a public-records request for communications pertaining to the election.

Hardly any offered evidence to support their claims of widespread voter fraud, but instead repeated falsehoods about the election, such as those pushed by Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell about Dominion Voting Systems tabulating software.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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