A 10-month-long review of Wisconsin’s 2020 election conducted by a conservative group in the state found no signs of widespread or significant election fraud, according to a new report of its findings, further disproving continued baseless allegations of election fraud as the battleground state undergoes a contentious partisan election audit.
The investigation by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) found “no evidence of widespread voter fraud,” which it defined as “an intentional effort to subvert the election” by preventing voters who support a specific candidate from voting or having their vote counted, “attempting to procure votes that were never cast” or “falsely increasing” one candidate’s vote share.
The investigation, which examined nearly 20,000 ballots and 29,000 absentee ballot envelopes alongside other analysis methods, found “limited” evidence of individuals casting ballots when ineligible to do so, such as 130 reported instances of registered felons voting and 42 reported ballots from deceased voters.
Despite claims on the far right that link election fraud to voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems, WILL found “no evidence of significant problems with voting machines” and noted Democrats performed “worse than expected” in areas that used Dominion machines.
The group also struck down right-wing claims of “ballot dumping” that artificially inflated President Joe Biden’s vote total.
The investigation did have numerous criticisms with how the state’s election was run, taking aim at ballot drop boxes, how state voter rolls were maintained and private funding that went to Democratic-leaning areas, and contended there were many votes cast “that did not comply with existing legal requirements” for Wisconsin elections.
That being said, WILL noted there’s little to no evidence showing that voters who cast those ballots “did anything intentionally wrong” and they were likely just following election officials’ advice, and even if some state rules were not correctly followed, that is not cause for throwing out those ballots or a basis to “infer fraud.”
“There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. In all likelihood, more eligible voters cast ballots for Joe Biden than Donald Trump,” WILL’s report concluded. “We found little direct evidence of fraud, and for the most part, an analysis of the results and voting patterns does not give rise to an inference of fraud.”
The WILL report follows a separate election report from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau that similarly found no evidence of widespread fraud, though state election commissioners from both parties have raised concerns with how that probe was conducted. The report comes as former President Donald Trump and his allies have continued to baselessly assert the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” and subject to widespread fraud, despite numerous audits, court rulings and other analyses finding no evidence to support those claims. Wisconsin Republicans have continued to controversially probe the 2020 election through a Republican-led audit being conducted by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, an effort the Associated Press reports will cost taxpayers in the state $675,000. That investigation has already drawn repeated criticism for Gableman’s association with people who have pushed baseless fraud claims such as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.