Mayor Satya: Proper Place for Gableman Interviews is in Front of Capitol Committee
Yesterday, Mayor Satya held a press conference to react to a subpoena by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos compelling cooperation with an investigation into 2020 election. A summary of her remarks is below, along with the two subpoenas received by the City of Madison: one for the Clerk’s office the other for the Mayor herself.
Today, I was subpoenaed by Speaker Vos. This subpoena asked me to go to a strip mall in Brookfield to speak to Attorney Gableman behind closed doors about the 2020 election and to bring with me hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.
I believe this subpoena is a mockery. If this is a serious investigation, it should be treated seriously. I am happy to walk the two blocks to the Capitol to address the Speaker or any committee he may chose. But these issues should never be discussed behind closed doors at a strip mall; they should be discussed openly in front of the public and the media.
If invited, I would tell Speaker Vos that Madison ran a completely transparent, fair, and safe election in the middle of one of the worst pandemics our nation has ever faced. In April of 2020, when we lost 1,400 poll workers due to safety concerns, we recognized more resources would be needed to train and pay new poll workers, to help us deal with tens of thousands of absentee ballots, to open and staff curbside voting locations across the city, to install drop boxes in front of fire stations, and to otherwise make sure that both poll workers and the public were kept safe from COVID-19.
When the legislature failed to provide any resources to communities to help with elections, we applied for funds from a respected, non-profit group called the Center for Tech and Civic Life along with 216 other Wisconsin communities. 49 cities received grants, including Waukesha and Brookfield where I’ve been asked to appear, while an additional 49 villages, 101 towns, 16 townships, and 1 county also received grants.
I am proud that Madison secured the resources needed to pay our poll workers more and make sure that our elections were fair, safe and fully functional.
I am proud that we secured 14 bright blue drop boxes, as many other states and localities did, to facilitate pandemic voting.
I am proud of our City Clerk and every single clerk in this state who rose to this unprecedented challenge.
I am proud of every Madison poll worker, from the seasoned veterans to the unemployed restaurant workers and the high schoolers, who stepped in and stepped up to make sure voting was safe.
Thanks to these folks, there were zero outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with our elections in Madison.
Unfortunately after the election, there was an outbreak of false and unsubstantiated claims about improprieties in our election. There have already been many court rulings on the allegations that Attorney Gableman is supposed to be investigating, and no wrongdoing by Madison or other municipalities has been found.
A Wisconsin federal court upheld the Center for Tech and Civic Life grants as legal, as did courts in many other states. The burden is on Speaker Vos and Attorney Gableman to defend these unprecedented subpoenas.
This constant bashing of Wisconsin elections and our wonderful clerks and poll workers across the state is taking a toll. It is taking a toll on their time, distracting them from their current duties and preparations for future elections, forcing them to deal with endless and costly open records requests, and to deal with people marching into offices to examine record after record. It is further taking a toll on their health, well-being and peace of mind. Our clerks have received death threats and harassment, and this is entirely unacceptable. Our poll workers should be thanked, not harassed.
The constant rehashing of the 2020 election is not only demoralizing for our clerks; it is corrosive to our democracy.
There is no wrongdoing to investigate which justifies subpoenas and interrogations. Although he may not like the laws, Attorney Gableman is simply investigating how clerks complied with the elections laws that were in place at the time of the election. The legislature’s attempts to change those laws is an acknowledgment that clerks followed the law in place for the election.
Many Republicans won elections using the same laws, the same ballots and the same voting equipment that voters used to elect President Biden and other Democrats. Either all of those elections were legitimate or Republican legislators - including Speaker Vos - were not legitimately elected.
I understand that Attorney Gableman said yesterday that he does not understand how elections work. That is the one point on which we agree.