GREEN BAY, Wis.— A group called the Amistad Project announced Thursday they plan to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission hoping to spark an investigation into the City of Green Bay’s handling of the November 2020 election.
Amistad Project attorney Erick Kaardal and the group filed the complaint on behalf of five Green Bay residents who have concerns over a man they say had too much access to and oversight of the city’s central count location on election night.
The man in question is Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein. Kaardal says Spitzer-Rubenstein was helping the city as part of Vote at Home Institute with the help of a $1.6 million grant from a group funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. That group is called the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
Kaardal says part of the agreement allowed Spitzer-Rubenstein full access to the city’s election process and central count on election night. Former Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno told reporters Thursday she visited the city’s central count November 3 and witnessed Spitzer-Rubenstein doing more than what she claims WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe told her his role would be during the election.
Kaardal criticized Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich saying the city has not been transparent or cooperative in the Amistad Project’s attempts to learn all the details of how election night was handled.
“Green Bay, when you decided to put the private corporations in your election administration, you denied us transparency so we don’t accept the result,” Kaardal said. “That’s a problem for Green Bay.”
President of the Republican Party of Brown County James Fitzgerald is among the five city residents listed in the complaint.
“Mayor’s office has tried to deflect the responsibility and his private partners have not been forthcoming about their role in managing Green Bay’s elections,” Fitzgerald said.
Mayor Eric Genrich’s office could not be reached for comment. Instead, City Attorney Vanessa Chavez issued a statement Thursday saying, “We haven't seen the complaint yet, but it is our policy not to comment on pending investigations. The City continues to stand behind the handling of the November 2020 election, and will continue to comply with any requirements of the Wisconsin Elections Commission as we have always done.”
Kaardal said the effort was all about ensuring future elections were run properly and that the issue should be non-partisan.
Renee Gasch is Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County. She says this is all as partisan as it gets.
“You know, it’s hard to lose elections and I think that these are just some folks who are pretty disappointed in the results and they’re not going to go away easily,” Gasch said. “The election was six months ago and we’ve held two successful elections since then. To be continuing to re-litigate this issue that’s already been reviewed by the courts and reviewed by election officials I think is just not a good use of our time.”
WEC Public Information Officer Reid Magney on Thursday said when the complaint makes its way to the commission, the WEC will have 15 days to respond to the complaint. Then Kaardal and the Amistad Project will have 10 days to respond to the WEC.