- A Johnson aide said the senator meant that Democrats in several states had objected in past elections.
- Johnson took to social media and highlighted several situations in which Democrats objected to the results of an election — none of which matched the original claim.
- For example, in Hawaii in 1960, voters from both parties voted while a recount was taking place.
- The 1960 recount determined which party won, and there were no challenges when the Electoral College votes were counted.
It’s been three years since a group of Republicans gathered at the state Capitol in Madison, with armed guards, to try to vote for then-President Donald Trump, although they were not the state’s official voters and despite Trump’s defeat.
But U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, continues to defend his actions — even after the group a court filing acknowledged that the group’s actions were used to try to overturn the election.
In a December 11, 2023 interview on CNN, Johnson was asked whether Robert Spindell, who serves on the Wisconsin Elections Commission and was one of the bogus voters, should resign from his position for participating in the scheme.
Johnson said Spindell should not resign, that there was an “active legal case” and that there were “all kinds of irregularities in Wisconsin during the 2020 election.”
“In order to make sure the case wasn’t ruled moot, they had to have an alternate slate of electors, just like Democrats have done repeatedly in all sorts of different states.” , Johnson said. “There is nothing untoward about what they did. There was nothing illegal about what they were doing. They were just a slate of alternative voters.
Kaitlan Collins, host of CNN’s The Source, fired back, asking if he meant they didn’t do anything wrong.
“These people have done nothing different than Democrats have done in many states,” Johnson said.
Collins then asked whether someone who participated in the fake voter scheme should remain on a state board.
“Democratic voters have done this repeatedly,” Johnson said, ignoring the question. “This has happened in different states.”
Is Johnson correct that Democrats have also used alternative voter lists “repeatedly in all sorts of different states”
In a word: No.
When we asked Johnson’s office to confirm this claim, which sparked much conversation on social media, spokesperson Kiersten Pels said that “the senator meant that Democrats have repeatedly denied and disputed the elections for decades and cited the examples below in a tweet. response to CNN.
But that’s not what Johnson said, and it’s not what viewers heard. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that, at best, the senator misspoke.
The response Pels referenced included four examples. We’ll look at them through the lens of Johnson’s CNN statement.
They fail. For example, only one of the four projects involves a voter list.
1960 Elections: Hawaii Voters
Johnson stated: “In the 1960 election, Hawaii Democrats chose an alternate slate of electors, allowing JFK to be certified as the winner.”
This election, in which Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon, is one of the most memorable presidential elections in United States history.
Here is a preview of a Politico article from August 25which sought to debunk the same kind of comparison that other Republicans were making.
In December 1960, Hawaii’s election results were still uncertain. Nixon led by 140 votes and a recount is underway. At the same time, presidential electors were meeting to vote, as required by law.
Hawaii electors for Nixon and Kennedy met separately to vote for their respective candidates and sent them to Washington, DC.
The recount gave Kennedy a lead of about 115 votes, giving him the state. The results were then certified and a new list of Electoral College certificates was signed and sent to Washington.
But Hawaii’s electors were chosen, on the date set by law, while the recount was underway and the outcome was still uncertain. In Wisconsin, Fake Republican Voters Reunite After Trump-Backed Recount Fails. A few days after their meeting with State Supreme Court declares Joe Biden the winner in Wisconsin.
So, contrary to Johnson’s assertion, it was not the alternate slate that allowed Kennedy to be chosen. This was the result of the recount. Additionally, Nixon himself – then vice president – had slates of electors from both parties in front of him and chose the Democratic party after the Hawaii recount was completed and certified for Kennedy.
2004 elections: Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry
Johnson stated: In 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones led a group of 31 representatives to object to the certification of Ohio’s electors. These 31 include Jim Clyburn, Sheila Jackson Lee, Barbara Lee, now a senator. Ed Markey, Benny Thompson and Maxine Waters.
Johnson is correct about the facts, but he is not applying them correctly to support his claims on CNN. Democrats oppose a list of legitimately chosen electors. They did not propose an alternative electoral list.
2016 Election: ‘Rogue Voters’ Discuss Their Attempt to Block Trump
Johnson said: “In 2016, Democratic voters in Washington state and Colorado signed on to an effort to prevent Trump from winning a majority in the Electoral College. »
When Trump won in 2016, defeating Hillary Clinton, many Democrats were unhappy with the results.
After the elections, Politico reported in November 2016, some Democratic voters were trying to rally support from other voters not to vote for Trump – these were what were called “rogue voters” at the time. Likewise, some voters considered not voting for Clinton in states Clinton won.
Again, this is not a list of fake voters.
2016 Election: More Anti-Trump Fallout
Johnson’s final statement: “In 2017, Representatives Jamie Raskin, Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Raúl Grijalva, Maxine Waters, and Jim McGovern all opposed the electoral vote for Trump. »
As in 2005, when the formal certification process was underway in Congress, some Democrats in the House objected to the electoral votes cast for Trump.
Biden, then vice president, chaired the joint body, heard the objections and at one point told Jayapal, who had objected to Georgia’s voting certificate, “it’s over.”
Again, this was not a list of fake voters.
Finally, it is worth noting that after the 2020 election, many Republicans objected to the certification of various electoral votes in favor of Biden. Indeed, it was part of the overall plan: to put alternative slates of electors before then-Vice President Mike Pence so he could accept them in place of the legitimate slates.
Johnson’s role with fake voters
It’s worth noting that Johnson will always be linked to the problem.based on an exchange of texts revealed by the US House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6 attack on the capital.
On January 6, 2021, Sean Riley, an aide to Johnson, texted Chris Hodgson, a member of Pence’s staff, saying that Johnson “needs to deliver something to VPOTUS, please advise.”
“What is this?” Hodgson replied.
“Alternate voter list for MI and WI because the recorder did not receive them,” Riley said.
“Don’t give him that,” Hodgson said.
Hours later, the U.S. Capitol was under siege by Trump supporters hoping to delay the Electoral College vote count and overturn the election.
Johnson changed his explanation for his involvement from “no involvement in an alternative voter slate” to admitting that he was informed about “Wisconsin voters” by a Dane County attorney and facilitated a text introduction with a staff member and the attorney.
In a CNN interview, Johnson claimed that Democrats have also used alternative voter slates “repeatedly in all kinds of different states.”
It’s wrong. His own aide acknowledged that Johnson intended to make a different, more general argument about Democrats’ objections to past election results. And, in any case, none of the evidence Johnson provided matches the original claim.
We rate this statement as false.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Biden after the alternate electors met.
Twitter/X: Johnson on CNN, December 11, 2023: https://twitter.com/kaitlancollins/status/1734409826099150946
Twitter/X: Response from Johnson, December 11, 2023: https://twitter.com/SenRonJohnson/status/1734436994036449396
Policy 1960 Electoral College certificates that fake Trump voters say justify their bet – POLITICO August 25, 2023
CNN, Bush wins the Electoral College after some delayJanuary 6, 2005
Democrats oppose the 2005 elections: https://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/01/06/electoral.vote/
Policy, Democratic presidential voters revolt against TrumpNovember 22, 2016
CNN, 11 Times Vice President Biden Was Interrupted While Certifying Trump’s Electoral Voten, January 6, 2017
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson wanted to hand-deliver fake voter votes to Mike Pence on January 6, texts revealJune 21, 2022
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ron Johnson now says he helped coordinate efforts to pass fake voter rolls to Pence, but his new explanation drew a swift rebukeJune 26, 2022
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds Biden victory, dismisses Trump lawsuitDecember 14, 2020
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Biden wins 87 votes in Trump’s $3 million Wisconsin recount as Dane County completes review. President considers trialNovember 29, 2020