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Conservative group files WEC complaint against Madison

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of Republican lawmakers stood with conservative activists Tuesday as they continued to make the unfounded claim the 2020 presidential election was "stolen."

The Amistad Project filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission against the city of Madison. The right-wing group had already lodged similar complaints about the clerks in Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, and Green Bay.

The lawmakers joined the activists for a rally at the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday.

Along with Madison, those five cities received about $6.3 million in grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life. Attorney Erick Kardaal, who was previously an officials with the Republican Part of Minnesota, said it was improper for the cities to accept the grants from CTCL, which is largely funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Kardaal did not mention in his remarks a total of more than 200 Wisconsin municipalities received funding from the organization for election administration.

The rally came after the Wisconsin Elections Commission outlined fewer than 50 cases of possible voter fraud referred to district attorneys in recent years.

Fewer than 30 of the more than three million ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election elicited such suspicions, according to a report by the Associated Press.

"They're gonna come back and say 'it's fine! Where's your proof of voter fraud?' We don't to prove voter fraud," Kardaal said. "We need to show election officials operate illegally at the behest of corporate millionaires and that's enough."

Madison City Attorney Michael Haas said there was no proof Madison had done anything illegal by accepting private grants, as the hundreds of other Wisconsin municipalities had done.

"A similar claim was made in federal court and the court dismissed it," Haas said. "There's no statute that prohibits a municipality in Wisconsin from accepting private funds to help assist in administering the election."

While the activists and GOP lawmakers repeated an account from the former Green Bay city clerk about an outside consultant trying to give marching orders at a central county site, the rally organizers made no similar claims about Madison.

City clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl has said the city used the $1.2 million it received from the CTCL to provide hazard pay for poll workers and to install drop boxes for absentee ballots.

Republicans in the legislature are pursuing bills that would ban local clerks from accepting outside grants from private groups and limit the number of drop box locations. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has indicated he would veto such measures.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) chairs the Assembly's elections committee and was in attendance at the rally. While she did not say the election was stolen, other speakers did. When asked if she was comfortable headlining an event with activists clinging to the unfounded claims, Brandtjen did not directly answer.

"I'm here to say we have voting irregularities," Brandtjen said before referring to the allegations about the consultant in Green Bay.

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A. J. Bayatpour

Capitol Bureau Chief

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