Wisconsin secretary of state demands 'fake' Trump elector be cast from office

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hands the electoral certificate from the state of Arizona to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar as he presides over a joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021. File Photo by Saul Loeb/UPI/Pool

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Wisconsin's Secretary of State on Monday demanded that a Republican member of the state elections commission be removed from office following his acknowledgment he submitted a false presidential elector ballot in 2020.

In a letter to Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski urged the removal of Robert Spindell Jr., a longtime GOP activist, from his post on the panel responsible for administering elections and certifying results in Wisconsin.

"I find it abhorrent that Election Commissioner Robert Spindell Jr. knowingly submitted a fraudulent election document to Wisconsin's secretary of state as part of a larger coordinated effort to overturn the will of the people [in the 2020 presidential election]," wrote Godlewski, a Democrat who was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in March.

Spindell was one of 10 Wisconsin Republican Party members who assembled as purported members of the Electoral College at the state capitol in Madison, Wis., on Dec. 14, 2020, and signed paperwork falsely claiming that former President Donald Trump had won the presidential election in the state.

In fact, President Joe Biden won the state by 20,682 votes -- a result that was upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court only hours before the Republicans met at the capitol as would-be electors.

Spindell and the other nine Wisconsin "fake electors" admitted in a legal settlement last week that their votes were "cast at the behest of the Trump Campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin" and were "part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and disrupt the peaceful transition of presidential power."

The 10 officially withdrew their false ballots as part of the settlement of the civil suit, which was brought against them by Wisconsin's legitimate Democratic Party electors.

Also as part of the settlement, the fake electors issued a statement reaffirming the "legitimate" election of Biden and agreed to never again serve as presidential electors or participate "in the execution or transmission of electoral votes in any election featuring Donald J. Trump."

Another of the would-be electors, former state GOP chairman Andrew Hitt, told the Washington Post he has been cooperating with the Department of Justice since May 2022 in an investigation of the case, adding that he would not back Trump in the 2024 election.

Hitt said the Wisconsin group was "tricked" into signing the false ballots by the Trump campaign, which allegedly told them it was necessary only as a backstop should Biden's victory be successfully challenged in court.

The group "would have never taken any actions had we known that there were ulterior reasons beyond preserving an ongoing legal strategy," he told the Post.

The fake electors in Wisconsin were among Republican Party members in seven states that Biden won in 2020 who falsely claimed Trump actually was the victor -- materials the Trump campaign is accused of using in an effort to prevent the certification on Biden's win on Jan. 6, 2021.

Law enforcement officials in Georgia and Michigan have issued felony charges against Republican electors, with similar investigations underway in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.