As Wisconsin Senate Moves to Remove Controversial Elections Administrator, Legal Challenges Expected

Meagan Wolfe’s days as administrator of the troubled Wisconsin Elections Commission may be numbered.

The Senate Committee on Shared Revenue, Elections and Consumer Protection voted 3-1 on Monday to reject the appointment of Wolfe, the controversial election regulator protected by the Left and lambasted by conservatives.

“Today I voted against the appointment Meagan Wolfe to serve as Administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” State Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) said in a statement following the committee’s 3-1 vote.

“Two weeks ago when the committee met to hear testimony on Ms. Wolfe’s appointment, she didn’t bother to show up to her own public hearing. What I heard instead were numerous concerns from Wisconsinites around the state who have lost faith in the job she was doing as administrator,” Feyen added.

The full Senate could vote to fire Wolfe as soon as Thursday, the next scheduled session day.

Dominated by Republicans, who hold a supermajority, the Senate is poised to remove Wolfe from the leadership position she has held since 2019. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) told reporters at the Republic Party Convention earlier this year that Wolfe did not have enough support to survive confirmation.

Wolfe’s four-year term ended on July 1, but the three Democrats on the six-member Wisconsin Elections Commission have maneuvered to save the administrator from ouster.

Democrats insist the committee’s action was illegal because the Elections Commission previously did not deliver a majority vote in calling for Wolfe’s removal. The commission’s three Republicans voted 3-0 in June to move Wolfe’s nomination to the Senate, knowing that she would not be reconfirmed. The commission’s three Democrats abstained, insisting that a majority 4-2 vote was needed to send Wolfe to a Senate vote.

Far Left state Attorney General Josh Kaul, in a legal opinion, agreed with the Democrats. So did the Legislature’s nonpartisan Legislative Council, based on a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that effectively found there is no vacancy to fill if an appointed officer refuses to step down from his or her post.

Such was the case when the Republican-controlled Senate opted not to take up the confirmation vote of Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ appointee to the Department of Natural Resources Board. The state supreme Court, with a conservative majority at the time, cited a 60-year-old ruling in deciding that the Republican-appointed board member who had refused to step down upon the expiration of his term could remain in the position until the Senate acted.

Republicans argue Wolfe’s case is different. The Senate, which has the constitutional power to approve or reject the governor’s nominees, is ready to take action on Wolfe. They say the Elections Commission’s 3-0 vote is the majority required to move the administrator’s nomination to a Senate confirmation vote.

The latest constitutional crisis appears destined for the state Supreme Court, which, as of August 1, is controlled by a liberal majority.

Wolfe and her liberal allies have breathlessly defended the administrator against criticisms and charges the commission failed to uphold election integrity law. Wolfe and crew issued controversial guidance to local election clerks approving the widespread use of absentee ballot drop boxes amid the COVID outbreak in the 2020 presidential election, among several actions determined to violate state election law.

Wolfe also referred a long-time Democratic Party operative to local elections officials, according to emails uncovered through open records requests. The operative, records show, had access to absentee ballot boxes on the night of the election and worked closely with the Green Bay and Milwaukee election offices — thanks to millions of dollars in so-called “safe elections” grants funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“Elections are at the foundation of our democracy and it is important that every citizen can trust that their vote will matter,” Feyen said following the committee vote. “This hearing made it clear to me that under Ms. Wolfe’s leadership, too many Wisconsinites don’t have this trust.”

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.



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