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 September 17, 2023

Wisconsin Republicans fire top elections official

Wisconsin Republicans just ousted the state's top elections official, ABC News reports

The official is Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe. Wolfe has held this position since 2018, and she was about to be re-nominated for a second term.

Wisconsin's legislature is currently controlled by Republicans, and the Republicans used this control to upend Wolfe's nomination.

The left-leaning outlet The Hill reports:

Republican leaders have been threatening to remove Wolfe for months over how she handled the 2020 election. They have falsely claimed she orchestrated a plan to rig the 2020 election in Wisconsin — a swing state President Biden carried in 2020 by nearly 21,000 votes.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, the Wisconsin Senate voted along party lines, 22-11, to oppose Wolfe's nomination. This should be enough to remove her from her position as elections commission administrator. But, things may not be so simple.

It was back in June 2023 that the Election Commission considered whether or not to re-nominate Wolfe for a second term. The three Republican members of the commission voted to nominate her, knowing that the Republican-led state senate would reject the nomination, thereby removing her from office.

The commission's three Democratic members, however, abstained from voting on whether to nominate Wolfe in a bid to prevent the scenario mentioned in the last paragraph.

Wisconsin Republicans attempted to get around this situation by interpreting the abstention votes of the commission's Democratic members as a unanimous nomination of Wolfe, thereby allowing Wolfe's nomination to be considered by the Wisconsin Senate. Then, as stated, a vote was held, and Wolfe's nomination failed.

Now, it is a virtual certainty that this matter will be taken to the courts.

One of the key questions will be whether or not Wolfe's nomination was properly before the Wisconsin Senate. This, in turn, will depend on how the courts interpret the abstention votes of the commission's Democratic members.

While this plays out, it appears that Wolfe is going to try to continue as the commission's administrator.

According to The Hill, Wolfe and her supporters are attempting to rely on a Wisconsin Supreme Court precedent that states that Wisconsin lawmakers are not allowed to replace an appointed official until the official's position is vacated. And, in this decision, the court made it clear that the end of an official's term does not automatically create a vacancy.

Senate Republicans, however, are insisting that the commission appoint a new interim administrator.

With a disagreement like this, it is clear that the matter will be heading to the courts.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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