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Why Wisconsin Republicans' 2020 election review is such a mess

The Wisconsin Republicans' 2020 election review is already literally unbelievable, and it's just getting started.

The good news is that Wisconsin Republicans do not intend to duplicate Arizona Republicans' utterly bonkers election "audit." The bad news is that GOP officials in Wisconsin are pursuing a related course that's nearly as misguided. The Associated Press reported the other day:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos plans to pay former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman $44,000 to lead a probe of 2020 presidential election results in Wisconsin. Vos announced in May that he plans to hire three retired police officers to review the election. He announced at the state Republican convention on June 26 that Gableman will oversee the investigation. The Assembly chief clerk's office on Friday released a contract between Gableman and Vos that calls for paying Gableman $11,000 in taxpayer dollars every month between July and October.

Wisconsin's Republican state Assembly speaker is also paying retired police officers nearly $20,000 -- again at taxpayer expense -- to assist with the "investigation."

The obvious problem with the endeavor is that there's no good reason to investigate Wisconsin's election results in the first place. GOP officials may not have liked the voters' verdict -- President Biden narrowly won the state -- but there is no evidence of impropriety. Going fishing for evidence appears to be the latest in a series of Republican efforts to undermine public confidence in the system.

But the less obvious problem is the one Rachel identified on the show this week: this specific investigation appears to be designed to produce a specific result.

GOP officials in the state tapped Gableman, for example, to oversee the effort, despite the fact -- or more accurately, because of the fact -- that the retired judge became a "Stop the Steal" activist who told the public the 2020 election wasn't "honest."

This is not the direction Republicans would've gone if they intended to have a credible examination.

Gableman will be working alongside a former police officer who was previously banned from getting anywhere near Wisconsin polling sites because he was caught distributing a self-published report full of bogus allegations about voter fraud.

Eventually, these folks will produce some kind of report, which will likely tell Republicans what they want to hear about their own baseless conspiracy theories. But GOP officials have ensured that no one else will be able to take this process seriously.

Postscript: In case this weren't quite enough, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported this week that a random Wisconsin man who doesn't have any official responsibilities at all is conducting his own personal examination by making a series of copies of ballots in counties he was reluctant to identify. What could possibly go wrong?