by Benjamin Yount
One of the Republican lawmakers in Madison who continues to have questions for the Wisconsin Elections Commission isn’t impressed with the Commission’ new lessons for kids.
The Elections Commission this week launched what it’s calling Election 101 lessons for high schoolers across Wisconsin.
“The launch of the WEC video series is a direct response to the increased public need for information about Wisconsin’s election system,” the Commission said in a statement. “The four-part video series provides an overview of Wisconsin’s system of election administration, as well as a closer look at fundamental components of voting, such as registration, casting an absentee ballot, voting at the polls, and how Wisconsin keeps elections secure.”
“It’s ironic that WEC believes it can provide a clear legal messaging to students, since WEC still hasn’t clear messaging to clerks,” Rep. Janel Brandtjen told The Center Square Wednesday.
Brandtjen has been a frequent and vocal critic of the Elections Commission. She led an investigation into WEC after the 2020 election.
Brandtjen said the Elections Commission has enough to do already. She questions why WEC is moving into classrooms.
“[According to] the Legislative Audit Bureau, 17% of municipal clerks had not completed all training to hold elections,” Brandtjen explained. “And WEC staff were not contacting governing bodies of clerks who had not completed their training.”
That Audit Bureau report ripped the Elections Commission for dozens of deficiencies.
Three of the four lessons are simple. The first provides an overview of how elections and election security in the state work. The second talks about who is able to vote in Wisconsin. The third encourages teachers to “build a Socratic Seminar” around the question of lowering the voting age in the state. The fourth “ helps students answer the questions ‘What are ways I can civically participate in my community?’ and ‘How do we hold elections in my community?’”
Brandtjen said WEC should do the job given to it by lawmakers before expanding.
“Since guidance and the law are often contradictory with WEC, maybe just one legal message to clerks would be the best value to taxpayers,” she added.
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