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Michael Gableman's numbers on nursing home voting proven wrong again

From the The 2020 election is over. Here’s what happened (and what didn’t) series
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Residents of nursing homes in five Wisconsin counties did not vote in unusually high numbers in the last presidential election — contrary to what the leader of a partisan review of the election has asserted.

Nor was voter turnout significantly different from turnout in the 2016 election at nursing homes in four of the counties for which the Wisconsin State Journal obtained voting data.

The newspaper’s findings again throw cold water on claims by conservative former state Supreme Court justice and GOP special counsel Michael Gableman and supporters that widespread voter fraud was responsible for President Joe Biden’s 21,000-vote victory in Wisconsin. A report on the election by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, recounts in the state’s two largest counties, and multiple courts have found no evidence to support their claims.

Nevertheless, during a presentation March 1 before the state Assembly’s elections committee to discuss his most recent findings, Gableman showed videos of purported nursing home residents who appeared to be incapable of understanding the voting process but had, in fact, voted in the 2020 election.

He then pointed to figures in his 136-page “second interim investigative report” claiming 100% of the registered voters in nursing homes in heavily Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties, and in Racine County, home to the Democratic-leaning city of Racine, cast ballots in 2020. In Kenosha and Brown counties, home to the Democratic-leaning cities of Kenosha and Green Bay, the figures were 97% and 95%, respectively, he said.

Earlier that year, the Wisconsin Elections Commission told municipal clerks they were not required to send special election workers into nursing homes to assist with the election because of the pandemic. Gableman’s clear insinuation was that someone not qualified to conduct an election improperly influenced these vulnerable voters or, worse, cast ballots on their behalf.

A State Journal review of municipal poll books last month showed a far different story in Dane County. Poll books, sometimes in electronic form and sometimes on thousands of pages of paper, allow the public to see who was registered on the date of an election and which of those voters cast ballots in that election.

In only one of Dane County’s 18 state-licensed nursing homes was turnout 100%: Nazareth Health and Rehab Center in Stoughton, where all 12 people listed as registered in the poll book had their ballots tallied. Turnout among all the others ranged from 42% to 91%.

Gableman’s turnout numbers for nursing homes in the other four counties are proving equally false.

Using data requested through the Wisconsin Election Commission’s Badger Voters service — which allows political campaigns and the public to obtain lists of registered voters and voting activity by address — the State Journal calculated voter turnout at all 52 state-licensed nursing homes in Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties in which people were recorded as having voted in the Nov. 3, 2020, election.

It could find only one where turnout in 2020 was 100%: the Brown County Community Treatment Center — Bayshore Village in Green Bay, where eight of eight registered voters voted.

Otherwise, turnout at the nursing homes ranged from 20% to 94%. Average turnout for Milwaukee County nursing homes was 80%, as it was for Brown. Turnout in Kenosha facilities was 72% and in Racine it was 73%.

Such levels are not out of line with what the state as a whole saw in 2020, when turnout was 72%, according to the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, and nearly 10% more people cast ballots than in 2016.

What’s more, the nursing home figures overstate turnout in the facilities because they reflect the number of votes cast divided by the number of registered voters, not the larger voting-age population, which the Elections Commission uses as the denominator in its turnout calculations. It’s also long been true that senior citizens are more likely to vote than the population at large.

Nor was the 2020 turnout at nursing homes in Brown, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties much different from that in 2016. In fact, three homes in those areas saw 100% turnout, with 41 of 41 registered voters casting ballots in an election won by former President Donald Trump, who praised Gableman at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday and whose baseless claims of a stolen election Gableman has also taken up.

‘Incorrect and deceptive’

Gableman and his team did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Nor was the newspaper able to obtain comment from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, who appointed Gableman, or the Assembly elections committee chair Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, who has called for a “full, cyber-forensic audit” of the election.

Wisconsin Voter Alliance president Ron Heuer, who has said he compiled Gableman’s turnout numbers when he worked for him from about Oct. 1 to mid-December, also didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Kewaunee County-based Wisconsin Voter Alliance touts itself as “promoting and protecting the integrity” of Wisconsin’s voting system and has unsuccessfully sued to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results.

In a statement, the ranking Democrat on the Assembly elections committee, Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, called Gableman’s report “misleading” and said “the only way that they didn’t choose to intentionally mislead the public is if they have no idea how this works.”

“Mike Gableman should not have made an assertion about nursing home turnout based on partial data, and should have reached out to the actual experts — like the Wisconsin Elections Commission — that could have explained how this works,” he said. “Instead, he released a report that was incorrect and deceptive.”

Heuer said last month that he used the state’s voter database as of August 2021 to look at whether every registered voter at every nursing home in the five counties voted in the November 2020 election, although he erroneously included other kinds of group living arrangements, such as independent living for elderly people, in his calculations.

A spreadsheet of his findings provided to Spreitzer’s office, which provided it to the State Journal, shows columns for the number of active registered voters and number of votes cast in the 2020 election, often resulting in turnout figures that are inexplicably well above 100%. Spot checks of the data on registered voters and votes cast don’t match what the State Journal found in poll books.

Heuer has declined requests to go into detail about how he arrived at his turnout figures.

Nursing home votes, 2020

Number of ballots cast compared to number of registered voters at nursing homes in Brown, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties in 2020. 

County Facility Ballots cast Registered voters Percent
Brown Anna John Resident Centered Care Community, 2901 S. Overland Road, Oneida 10 15 67%
Brown Brown County Community Treatment Center - Bayshore Village, 3150 Gershwin Drive, Green Bay 8 8 100%
Brown Crossroads Care Center of West Green Bay, 1760 Shawano Ave., Green Bay 10 11 91%
Brown Edenbrook of Green Bay, 2961 St. Anthony Drive, Green Bay 7 8 88%
Brown Grancare Nursing Center, 1555 Dousman St., Green Bay 12 15 80%
Brown Green Bay Health Services, 1640 Shawano Ave., Green Bay 9 12 75%
Brown Odd Fellow Home, 1229 S. Jackson St., Green Bay 15 16 94%
Brown Rennes Health and Rehab Center - De Pere, 200 S. Ninth St., De Pere 10 19 53%
Brown Woodside Lutheran Home, 1040 Pilgrim Way, Green Bay 16 18 89%
Dane Badger Prairie Health Care Center, 1100 E. Verona Ave., town of Verona 32 39 82%
Dane Capital Lakes Health Center, 333 W. Main St., Madison 82 90 91%
Dane Crossroads Care Center of Sun Prairie, 41 Rickel Road, Sun Prairie 5 12 42%
Dane Four Winds Manor, 303 S. Jefferson St., city of Verona 13 22 59%
Dane Grace Healthcare of Oregon, 354 N. Main St., Oregon 10 17 59%
Dane Heartland Country Village, 634 Center St., Black Earth 7 11 64%
Dane Ingleside Manor, 407 N. Eighth St., Mount Horeb 16 32 50%
Dane Nazareth Health and Rehab Center, 814 Jackson St., Stoughton 12 12 100%
Dane Oak Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 718 Jupiter Drive, Madison 10 15 67%
Dane Oak Park Place of Nakoma, 4327 Nakoma Road, Madison 14 16 88%
Dane Oakwood Lutheran Homes Association, 6201 Mineral Point Road, Madison 14 19 74%
Dane Oakwood Village East Health and Rehabilitation Center, Madison 2 3 67%
Dane Skaalen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 400 N. Morris, Stoughton 41 49 84%
Dane SSM Health St. Mary's Care Center, 3401 Maple Grove Drive, Madison 51 64 80%
Dane Sun Prairie Health Care Center, 228 W. Main St., Sun Prairie 17 25 68%
Dane The Bay at Belmont Health and Rehabilitation Center, 110 Belmont Road, Madison 24 31 77%
Dane The Villa at Middleton Village, 6201 Elmwood Ave., Middleton 8 15 53%
Dane Waunakee Manor Health Care Center, 801 S. Klein Dr., Waunakee 26 30 87%
Kenosha Brookside Care Center, 3506 Washington Road, Kenosha 30 37 81%
Kenosha Clairidge House, 1519 60th St., Kenosha 15 20 75%
Kenosha Crossroads Care Center of Kenosha, 8633 32nd St., Kenosha 22 26 85%
Kenosha Grande Prairie Health and Rehabilitation Center, 10330 Prairie Ridge Blvd., Pleasant Prairie 34 48 71%
Kenosha Kenosha Estates Rehab and Care Center, 1703 60th St., Kenosha 4 10 40%
Kenosha The Bay at Sheridan Health and Rehabilitation, 8400 Sheridan Road, Kenosha 4 12 33%
Kenosha The Bay at Waters Edge Health and Rehabilitation, 3415 N. Sheridan Road, Kenosha 16 17 94%
Kenosha The Manor of Kenosha, 3100 Washington Road, Kenosha 36 53 68%
Milwaukee Allis Care Center, 9047 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis 37 40 93%
Milwaukee Aria at Mitchell Manor, 5301 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis 33 36 92%
Milwaukee Ascension Living Alexian Village Milwaukee, 9255 N. 76th St., Milwaukee 24 26 92%
Milwaukee Autumn Lake Healthcare at Greenfield, 5790 S. 27th St., Milwaukee 17 21 81%
Milwaukee Bedrock HCS at Glendale, 1300 W. Silver Spring Drive, Glendale 47 55 85%
Milwaukee Bria of Trinity Village, 7500 W. Dean Road, Milwaukee 12 22 55%
Milwaukee Chi Franciscan Villa, 3601 S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee 26 34 76%
Milwaukee Clement Manor Health Care Center, 3939 S. 92nd St., Greenfield* 11 14 79%
Milwaukee Crossroads Care Center of Milwaukee, 3216 W. Highland Blvd., Milwaukee 6 16 38%
Milwaukee Eastcastle Place Bradford Terrace Convalescent Center, 2505 E. Bradford Ave., Milwaukee 90 102 88%
Milwaukee Edenbrook Lakeside, 2115 E. Woodstock Place, Milwaukee 18 21 86%
Milwaukee Glendale Care and Rehab Center LLC, 6263 N. Green Bay Ave., Glendale 1 5 20%
Milwaukee Hales Corners Care Center, 9449 W. Forest Home Ave, Hales Corners 13 15 87%
Milwaukee Jewish Home and Care Center, 1414 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee 19 24 79%
Milwaukee Luther Manor, 4545 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee* 12 17 71%
Milwaukee Lutheran Home, 7500 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa 72 89 81%
Milwaukee Maple Ridge Health Services, 2730 W. Ramsey Ave., Milwaukee 15 18 83%
Milwaukee Maplewood Center, 8615 W. Beloit Road, West Allis 22 34 65%
Milwaukee Mercy Health Services, 2727 W. Mitchell St., Milwaukee 3 6 50%
Milwaukee Milwaukee Catholic Home, 2330 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee* 41 54 76%
Milwaukee Saint John's on the Lake, 1858 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee* 109 124 88%
Milwaukee Southpointe Healthcare Center, 4500 W. Loomis Road, Greenfield 26 29 90%
Milwaukee St. Anne's Salvatorian Campus, 3800 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee 53 75 71%
Milwaukee St. Camillus Health Center, 10101 W. Wisconsin Ave., Wauwatosa 59 76 78%
Milwaukee Sunrise Health Services, 3540 S. 43rd St., Milwaukee 3 7 43%
Milwaukee The Bay at St. Ann Health and Rehabilitation Center, 2020 S. Muskego Road, Milwaukee 13 17 76%
Milwaukee The Villa at Bradley Estates, 6735 W. Bradley Road, Milwaukee 68 92 74%
Milwaukee Wheaton Franciscan HC - Terrace at St. Francis, 3200 S. 20th St., Milwaukee 4 6 67%
Milwaukee Willowcrest Health Services, 3821 S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee 35 41 85%
Racine Lakeshore at Siena, 5643 Erie St., Racine 16 20 80%
Racine Oak Ridge Care Center, 1400 8th Ave., Union Grove 11 13 85%
Racine Ridgewood Care Center, 3205 Wood Road, Racine 42 53 79%
Racine The Bay at Burlington Health and Rehabilitation, 677 E. State St., Burlington 2 10 20%
Racine The Villa at Lincoln Park, 1700 C A Becker Drive, Racine 14 23 61%
Racine Wisconsin Veterans Home - Boland Hall, 21425 E. Spring St., Union Grove 61 81 75%
* Includes assisted living
Source: Wisconsin State Journal research



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