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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


In December 2020 U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief supporting a lawsuit in a failed effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Johnson was elected House speaker by fellow Republicans Oct. 25, 2023.

The lawsuit, rejected by the court, sought to reverse Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump by invalidating results in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Johnson’s brief was filed with 125 other congressional members, including Wisconsin Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany. Johnson argued it was illegal under Wisconsin law to use unmanned drop boxes to collect absentee ballots.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased use of drop boxes nationally in 2020.

Their use did not lead to any cases of fraud, vandalism or theft that could have affected the 2020 result, The Associated Press reported.

In 2022 the state Supreme Court declared drop boxes illegal, ruling absentee ballots must be delivered personally by voters.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


U.S. Supreme Court: Motion for Leave to File Brief Amicus Curiae and Brief Amicus Curiae of U.S. Representative Mike Johnson

KCRA: New US House speaker tried to help overturn the 2020 election, raising concerns about the next one

Newsweek: Is Mike Johnson an Election Denier? Voting Record Explored

AP News: Mike Johnson, a staunch Louisiana conservative, is elected House speaker as GOP moves past chaos

KCRA: New US House speaker tried to help overturn the 2020 election, raising concerns about the next one

AP News: No major problems with ballot drop boxes in 2020, AP finds

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for Milwaukee Magazine and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.