The special counsel for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ election probe said his mission is to give voters confidence in elections, adding he will largely focus on three areas related to last November’s election.
Michael Gableman, the conservative former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice heading up the investigation for Vos, said he will be looking at: guidance provided by the Wisconsin Elections Commission to local clerks; money from an out-of-state group that was used to help cities run elections last November; and voting machines.
“My mission is to try to do whatever I can so that going forward, people can have confidence that their vote counts,” Gableman said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
On Friday, Vos said the investigation would expand, requiring more people and more time. He named Gableman “special counsel” with the authority to hire investigators who will work at his direction.
Gableman said there are concerns the commission, “which is unelected, has actually become the de facto rulers of our Wisconsin elections.” He also said his probe would look at absentee voting.
He said the role of outside private funding for elections, which in Wisconsin came from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, funded in part by the Facebook co-founder and CEO. The former justice mentioned examination of “staff who were paid not by the people, but by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.”
Gableman also said he would take a “hard look” at voting machines and talk to “people on the ground and find out, did these machines work as they should?”
“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked if his probe would look like the audit going on in Arizona, where Senate Republicans hired a private contractor called Cyber Ninjas to examine ballots cast in Arizona’s most populous county.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Gableman said. “I’ve seen a lot of heat generated by what is going on in Arizona. At this point, I am not seeing a lot of light.
“We’re going to take it step by step, we’re going to do it in a logical fashion, we’re doing to do it based on evidence,” Gableman said about his investigation.
“But is there evidence, besides people saying they’re concerned after having a president who told them to be concerned? Is there evidence for concern?” Pedersen asked.
“Well, I believe that there’s enough to warrant a very thorough examination,” Gableman replied.
Pedersen also asked him about his comments at a Nov. 7 pro-Donald Trump rally, held at Milwaukee’s Serb Hall after the election, where he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think anyone here can think of anything more systematically unjust than a stolen election.”
“I didn’t say it was a stolen election. I stand by every word,” Gableman said.
Gableman also said he has received “all sorts of unsolicited advice and demands for immediate action” from “everyone.”
He said he would try to talk to Democrats as part of his probe.
“I am going to reach out to whoever will talk with me,” he said. “I firmly believe that this is not a partisan issue.”
He said he agreed with a statement Vos made on “UpFront” that the investigation is not about overturning the election results that saw Joe Biden narrowly beat Trump in Wisconsin.
Gableman said he could not discuss specifics of the investigators he would be working with.
See the program, and the entire “UpFront” Web extra interview with Gableman:
See Vos’ Friday announcement on the expansion of the probe: