Election clerks won't respond to 'questionable' and 'confusing' investigation email

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Election clerks from two of the largest counties in Wisconsin said they don't plan on responding to an email signed by Republicans' top investigator hired to examine the 2020 election, because it was confusing and didn't seem legitimate.

Dane and Milwaukee County clerks tell CBS 58 they won't respond to an email signed by former State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman over security concerns. While the email was signed by Gableman, it was sent by a Gmail account from someone named "John Delta."

"It's just indicative of how unprofessional and haphazard this whole process has been," said George Christenson, Milwaukee County clerk. "I mean these are elections we're talking about, everything needs to be extremely secure."

The email also contained a letter signed by Gableman requesting clerks to preserve all records from the 2020 election and to contact him if any data was destroyed. He also asked county clerks to forward the request to municipal clerks.

Clerks are already required by state law to save records for 22 months after an election.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he forwarded the email to his systems administrator who advised him to not respond.

"It was a Gmail account anyone could have created, the name on it didn't match and it looked like a classic spam email," McDonell said. "There's no excuse for (Gableman) to not have a laptop from legislative security board that's behind the state's firewall."

McDonell and Christenson both criticized Gableman for not understanding how Wisconsin's elections operate, because he also asked them for data on voting machines, which is not kept on the machines but instead on a memory card.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Gableman doesn't know what he's talking about and should get educated about elections first," said Christensen.

It's still unclear what exactly Gableman is looking for in his investigation, he has not responded to requests for comment.

There have been multiple failed attempts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn election results in Wisconsin. Through lawsuits, recounts and audits, there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Republican lawmakers have said the goal of the investigation is not to overturn the results, but instead restore confidence in elections.

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