by Benjamin Yount
There’s no shortage of Republicans who say the head of Wisconsin’s Elections Commission must resign.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos led the chorus of Republicans who said WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe must resign following claims from the Racine County sheriff that the commission broke state law last year.
“People’s trust in Wisconsin’s elections has been tested. Many Wisconsinites feel elections are not safe and secure, and now the Racine County Sheriff’s investigation found clear violations and law-breaking within the Wisconsin Elections Commission,” Vos said. “Clearly there is a severe mismanagement of WEC, and a new administrator is needed. I am calling for the resignation of Meagan Wolfe as Elections Commission Administrator.”
Vos said there are a series of “red flags” that cannot be ignored.
Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said Thursday that the WEC broke four state laws, first by suspending what are called special voting deputies for nursing homes across the state, then by advising workers in those same nursing homes to assist voters by filling out ballots for people who cannot vote themselves.
Schmalling says one woman, referred to in the investigation as Judy, complained that staffers at the Ridgewood Care Center in Racine took advantage of her elderly mother by filling out an absentee ballot in her mom’s name. Judy says her mother had diminished mental capacity and could not have communicated anything about voting to anyone.
State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, said not only does Wolfe need to go, but any and all staffers involved in the Racine case need to be fired as well.
“I am calling for the immediate dismissal of Meagan Wolfe as the Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator as well as the WEC staff who gave advice to break the law and members of the Elections Commission who voted to break the law. Those actions are the very definition of malfeasance in office,” Sanfelippo said. “And if the Wisconsin Attorney General continues to refuse to uphold the law then he should resign, too.”
Wolfe has not responded to the calls, or to the claims from Racine County’s sheriff.
The chairwoman of the WEC, Ann Jacobs, did respond on Thursday.
“To put it simply, we did not break the law,” said Commission Chair Ann Jacobs, an attorney from Milwaukee. “In fact, without action from the Commission, many residents in Wisconsin care facilities could have and would have been disenfranchised and not able to vote in the 2020 elections.”
Gov. Tony Evers rebuked Vos and the Republicans over their criticism of Wolfe.
“Elected officials can – and often do – disagree on plenty. But what is beneath the offices we hold and the responsibility entrusted to us is using our platforms to publicly and baselessly disparage and singularly belittle public servants,” the governor said. “Speaker Vos’ comments are unbecoming of his office and the people we serve. It’s my expectation – and one Wisconsinites share – that elected officials in this state treat others with civility and respect. The speaker’s behavior today fell woefully short of those expectations.”
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