Wisconsin Elections Commission refutes Rep. Brandtjen

By: - July 28, 2021 11:36 am
Rep. Janel Brandtjen speaking on the Assembly floor into a microphone

Rep. Janel Brandtjen | Facebook

Representative Brandtjen’s statement is factually incorrect.”

Given that Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) has claimed that Donald Trump won the presidency in 2020 and massive fraud caused the election to be stolen from him — something she wrote in a newsletter to her constituents — the above quote is not surprising. 

What makes that sentence unusual is that it came in a press release from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. In fact, the group dedicated 21 paragraphs to refuting the legislator whom Speaker Robin Vos put in charge of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee, fully aware of her far-right conspiracy theories. In the release the group says Brandtjen is “confusing and misinterpreting” the statutes.

Her announcement also put Vos in the awkward position of having to defend his own taxpayer-funded investigation to former President Donald Trump’s base, saying that the state is already conducting  a forensic audit. Meanwhile criticism from Democrats has focused on the waste of taxpayer money to investigate an election that has been proven many times already to be fair, accurate and free of massive fraud that Republicans continue in vain to attempt to uncover.. 

The Elections Commission was specifically responding to Brandtjen’s statement saying she would initiate yet another audit — Arizona or Georgia style — and specifically the baseless claim that there were  “…tens of thousands of new registrations and votes cast by individuals whose driver’s license number, name, and date of birth did not match and were subsequently removed from the state system after their votes were recorded ….”

The Elections Commission corrected another falsehood Brandtjen was spreading. On a radio interview — without citing any sources — Brandtjen wrongly claimed voter records from what she labeled “ghost voters” were removed from the system. 

Here is the commission’s takedown of that misinformation: 

“Though she did not cite any specific sources, Representative Brandtjen appears to be conflating and misinterpreting several different types of data related to the voter registration list and multiple processes designed to ensure election integrity. Voter data mismatches happen about 5% of the time, and are almost always minor typos which are corrected by the clerk or the voter, not fraud. These voter records are never removed from the system – there are no “ghost voters” as Representative Brandtjen claimed in a related radio interview.

“Wisconsin’s election laws provide multiple layers of security designed to:

  • Prevent fraudulent registrations — ensuring that voters are real, eligible citizens, who live in Wisconsin
  • Ensure clean voter lists – providing for deactivation of voters who die, are convicted of a felony, or who move out of state
  • Protect against voter impersonation through strict photo ID requirements.”

Elections Commission Chair Ann Jacobs — who has been focusing on refuting misinformation and lies about a stolen election in her social media, said:  

“It is unfortunate that Representative Brandtjen is claiming there are ‘ghost voters’ in Wisconsin when nothing could be further from the truth. She should stop spreading these wild conspiracy theories.”

To read the Election Commissions factual information with statutory citations about two different statutory voter list maintenance and security processes view its statement on its website.


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.