Daily Bread for 5.13.24: Conspiracists of Thornapple, Wisconsin Eliminate Electronic Voting Machines

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers with a high of 74. Sunrise is 5:32 and sunset 8:09 for 14h 37m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 31.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM, and the Planning Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1862, the USS Planter, a steamer and gunship, steals through Confederate lines and is passed to the Union, by a southern slave, Robert Smalls, who later was officially appointed as captain, becoming the first black man to command a United States ship.

Molly Beck reports A small Wisconsin town eliminated its electronic voting machines, leading to a federal review:

A rural Wisconsin community’s decision to eliminate electronic voting machines has attracted the attention of federal investigators who are questioning how voters with disabilities cast ballots in the town of fewer than 1,000 people.

The vote by a small board overseeing the Town of Thornapple in Rusk County, population 711, to rely solely on hand counting paper ballots took place last year and caught the eye of state and federal officials after the April presidential primary election when advocates for voters with disabilities rang alarm bells.

The decision was made in June 2023, according to town supervisor Tom Zelm ? around the time of a discussion in the local newspaper over whether to abandon electronic voting machines and amid visits to the area by one of the nation’s most prominent purveyors of election conspiracy theories. Town officials would not tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exactly what prompted the vote, which could violate federal laws mandating accessible voting options, and have so far not responded to requests under the state’s public records law for minutes of the town board meeting during which the vote was taken.

But Thornapple voter and Rusk County Democratic Party chairwoman Erin Webster says she discovered the roots of the decision are in former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election.

In a recording made by Webster of an April 2 telephone conversation with town supervisor Jack Zupan that was posted to YouTube, Zupan tells Webster that the board voted to remove the machines because “we believe that there was a stolen election and the computers have to go because they’re full of error.”

Here’s Webster’s recording of Thornapple Supervisor Jack Zupan talking about eliminating electronic voting machines:

Erin Webster writes of her recording: “I called my Supervisor Jack Zupan after I voted and there was no voting machine at my polling location. The County clerk told me it was legally required per Federal ADA guidelines. I wanted to know why the town would not have the electronic machines, so I called him. I realized immediately I should record what he was saying.”

Here’s Zupan’s unfounded, conspiracy-based position about the 2020 election:

0:02: well we made that decision and we’re going to stand with it so why was that
0:08 we believe that that that there was a stolen election and and the computers have to go

Zupan’s full remarks are an example of motivated reasoning.

Thornapple, Wisconsin has work to do. But then, on far different matters closer to home, so do we in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Plane lands safely without landing gear after circling Australian airport for hours to burn off fuel:

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