The Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly approved a resolution on Tuesday to authorize an investigation into the 2020 presidential election in the state, which President Joe Biden narrowly won over former President Donald Trump.
The resolution, which passed the Assembly by a 58-35 vote, was needed to give the committee authorization to take investigatory action such issuing subpoenas to compel testimony and gathering documents for review, the Associated Press reported.
It was approved along party lines with every Republican member voting in favor of the resolution and every Democratic member voting against it. Any resulting investigation will now be conducted by the Assembly's elections and campaign committee.
Despite allegations of fraudulent activity and numerous lawsuits lodged by the Trump campaign post-election, the results were affirmed through a partial recount and efforts to change the outcome were rejected by the courts. In the end, Biden carried the state by just under 21,000 votes.
Republicans have maintained that an investigation into the election would serve to bolster the public's faith in the state's electoral process. The resolution, they say, would allow the Assembly to gather more evidence to see if laws were broken.
"This is important because over the past year, year and a half, we've heard allegations of improprieties not being done, specifically state laws on the books not being followed," said elections committee vice-chair Republican Rep. Joe Sanfelippo.
According to Channel 3000, "the resolution accuses the state's election officials of jeopardizing the election through 'failing to adhere' to and encouraging noncompliance with election laws."
Democrats, on the other hand, claim that Republicans are simply trying to score political points and in the process are actually undermining the public's faith in elections.
"The underlying resolution makes some very serious claims," Democratic Rep. Spreitzer reportedly alleged during debate. "I take great objection to the characterization of our election officials. That would be our clerks, our poll workers, [and] our national guard."
The AP noted that a legislative audit is already ongoing in the state to determine whether election officials adhered to existing election laws. That audit was ordered by the Assembly following a party vote last month and is being conducted by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.
It will also look into things such as "how the state maintains its voter rolls and when it allows voters to get absentee ballots without showing IDs," the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.