Daily Bread for 12.18.21: Wisconsin on the Frontline of Election Conspiracies

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 33.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:22 PM for 9h 01m 49s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1865, Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery throughout the United States.

Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey report A real conflagration’: Wisconsin emerges as front line in war over the 2020 vote

One of the investigators reexamining the 2020 election results in Wisconsin on behalf of the GOP-led state legislature is the president of a group that unsuccessfully sued to overturn the vote.

Another worked as a deputy in the White House Presidential Personnel Office, which was known for weeding out people perceived as disloyal to President Donald Trump.

A third is an Arkansas lawyer who represented Trump’s campaign during last year’s Wisconsin recount, a process that confirmed President Biden won the key swing state by roughly 20,700 votes.

All are being paid with Wisconsin taxpayer money as part of a legislative-backed investigation into the 2020 results headed by a former state Supreme Court justice that has picked up steam in recent weeks. The inquiry, the latest gambit by Republicans to reexamine the 2020 election nationally, makes little pretense of neutrality and is being led by figures who have shown allegiance to Trump or embraced false claims of fraud.

The former president personally lobbied state lawmakers to pursue the Wisconsin investigation and spurred on other ballot reviews around the country, leaning on legislators to revisit the vote more than a year after Americans went to the polls.

In Wisconsin, a state that is likely to see some of the nation’s most competitive races in 2022 for governor and U.S. Senate, there are now multiple efforts underway to scrutinize how the last election was run, including a recommendation by a county sheriff to prosecute and jail state election officials.

“What we’re seeing in Wisconsin is a whole bunch of little brush fires, each one of which could be dismissed as minor, unconcerning or maybe even absurdly comical,” said Jeffrey Mandell, an expert in Wisconsin election law and attorney for the Democratic mayor of Green Bay, who is fighting a subpoena from the legislative inquiry. “My concern is there are enough brush fires that they could feed into each other and form a real conflagration.”

The danger, he said, is that the same players could challenge the outcome of a closely contested midterm election — potentially with control of the U.S. Senate in the balance — and that the institutions designed to certify the results will have been dismantled or disempowered.

“It would be a crisis,” Mandell said. “People haven’t been paying attention because there are bigger fires elsewhere. But there aren’t more fires anywhere.”

Wisconsin has had a contentious politics for years. We have years more ahead.

Armadillo pup named Segway arrives at U.S. zoo:

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