NATIONAL NEWS

Battleground Wisconsin’s top elections official up for reappointment vote amid GOP calls to resign

Jun 27, 2023, 7:15 AM

FILE - Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, poses outside of the Wisconsin St...

FILE - Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, poses outside of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, on Aug. 31, 2020. The future of Wisconsin's top elections official was up for a vote Tuesday, amid calls from Republicans for Wolfe to resign over how she ran the 2020 presidential election. (Ruthie Hauge/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Ruthie Hauge/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The future of Wisconsin’s top elections official was up for a vote Tuesday amid Republican calls for the nonpartisan administrator of the statewide elections commission to resign over how she ran the 2020 presidential contest.

The vote on whether to reappoint Meagan Wolfe could determine who is in charge of elections in a battleground state so narrowly divided that four of the past six presidential elections in Wisconsin have been decided by less than a percentage point. Wolfe has staunchly defended the decisions she’s made and fought back against false claims of election fraud, including those made by former President Donald Trump.

“When your constituents challenge you about the integrity of Wisconsin elections, tell them the truth,” she wrote to lawmakers just days before the vote on her reappointment. “When people perpetuate false claims about our election systems, push back publicly. Election officials cannot carry the burden of educating the public on elections alone.”

The decision on Wolfe’s future rests with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, whose six members are evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, leaving open the possibility for a split along party lines. A partisan deadlock could set in motion months of uncertainty over who will oversee elections in the swing state.

A recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling would apparently allow Wolfe to continue as administrator, even after her term ends on Saturday, until a replacement is appointed.

Wolfe has served as the state’s elections administrator since 2018 and has become one of the most respected elections leaders in the nation. She defended her record in a letter to state lawmakers, while earlier calling on commissioners to vote for the option they believe offers the most stability for Wisconsin elections even if that’s not her.

“There is no substitute for my decade-plus of experience in helping run Wisconsin elections at the state level,” she wrote in a letter to local election officials.

Whoever the elections commission appoints would need to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Some Republican state senators have already vowed to vote against Wolfe, who has sparred with them over election conspiracy theories on numerous occasions. If a commission appointee is rejected by the Senate, then commissioners would need to make a new appointment within 45 days or else a legislative committee controlled by Republicans could choose the next administrator.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu wouldn’t say Tuesday whether he would support confirming Wolfe or rejecting her, saying the Senate was waiting to see whether the commission votes to reappoint her.

The commission’s vote comes as a expand their control over elections in recent years, and far-right candidates have won seats in local government with platforms built on election skepticism.

But by and large, election denialism has hurt the GOP. Most candidates in 2022 in swing states including Wisconsin who supported overturning Trump’s defeat relitigating previous elections.”

In Wisconsin, the outcome of the 2020 election has withstood two investigator was fired. The GOP-controlled Legislature has rejected attempts to decertify the results.

___

Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.

___

Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Harm on Twitter.

National News

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

2 minutes ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

11 minutes ago

Associated Press

One of several South Dakota baseball players charged in rape case pleads guilty to lesser felony

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — One of the several former players on an American Legion baseball team in South Dakota charged last year with rape has pleaded guilty to a lesser felony. The 19-year-old former Mitchell player pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to a felony, according to court documents cited by KELO-TV on Tuesday. […]

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

Alabama seeks more nitrogen executions, despite concern over the method

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is seeking to carry out another nitrogen gas execution, months after the state became the first to put a person to death with the previously untested method. The attorney general’s office on Monday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to authorize an execution date for Carey Dale Grayson, who was convicted […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Silicon Valley-backed voter plan for new California city qualifies for November ballot

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Silicon Valley-backed initiative to build a green city for up to 400,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area has qualified for the Nov. 5 ballot, elections officials said Tuesday. Solano County’s registrar of voters said in a statement that the office verified a sufficient sampling of signatures. California Forever, […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

What’s next for Hunter Biden after his conviction on federal gun charges

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hunter Biden’s legal woes are not over after his conviction on three felony firearms charges in a trial that put a spotlight on his drug-fueled past. Now, President Joe Biden’s son faces sentencing, and another criminal trial on tax charges in the middle of his father’s reelection campaign. Jurors found Hunter […]

15 hours ago

Battleground Wisconsin’s top elections official up for reappointment vote amid GOP calls to resign