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Wisconsin false electors couldn’t serve as election officials under Democratic proposal

The legislation would disqualify Bob Spindell from his seat on the Wisconsin Elections Commission

Election 2020-Fake Electors-Wisconsin
Wisconsin Elections Commission member Robert Spindell speaks during a meeting, Nov. 2, 2023 in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin’s Democratic secretary of state is calling for the Republican who served as a fake elector for former President Donald Trump to be removed from his position on the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Spindell was one of 10 Republicans who signed certificates in 2020 falsely stating that Trump had won Wisconsin. Scott Bauer/AP Photo

Republicans who signed official-looking paperwork suggesting that former President Donald Trump won the state of Wisconsin in 2020 would be barred from serving as election officials under a proposal Democrats introduced at the state Capitol.

The 2020 false electors also could not serve on the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, under the legislation.

That would disqualify sitting Commissioner Bob Spindell, who was serving on the panel when he joined nine other Republicans to serve as Trump electors in 2020.

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It’s an effort to establish “safeguards” against attempts to undermine election outcomes, said Rep. Kalan Haywood, D-Milwaukee, a co-author of the bill.

“It was able to be stopped from happening in 2020,” he said of efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin, “but nothing says it won’t happen in 2024, 2028, or 2032, or any years to come.”

Spindell has repeatedly ignored calls for him to resign for his role in that scheme. He did not immediately respond to WPR’s request for comment Wednesday.

Those who participated as false electors have said that they were preserving legal options available to Trump as challenges to election results in key swing states made their way through the courts.

In December, the false electors settled a lawsuit about their actions. They admitted no wrongdoing but conceded that their actions had been used in an effort to overturn the 2020 election results. They also affirmed that Biden had indeed won the election.

The false electors also agreed they will not serve as presidential electors in future elections “featuring” Trump, who is expected to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

Two attorneys who devised the false electors plot, using Wisconsin as a testing ground for a strategy that expanded to other battleground states that Trump had lost, also recently settled in that case.

Haywood said that while the legislation applies to Spindell, it is intended as an application of lessons from 2020.

“It’s learning from the past, and then making sure that what we learn from the past does not happen in the future,” he said.

While the bill is currently circulating for cosponsorship, practically speaking, it has no chance of passing this session. Republicans hold big majorities in the Legislature, which has already adjourned for the year.