- Wisconsin Senate Republicans vote to remove top election official Meagan Wolfe, stirring uncertainty about election oversight as the 2024 presidential race nears.
- Wolfe’s removal has roots in the aftermath of the 2020 election, with Republican displeasure over policies related to absentee ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The quest for Wolfe’s replacement is set to become a courtroom battle, further complicated by a state Supreme Court ruling and support from the Democratic Attorney General.
In a recent turn of events, Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted decisively to oust a prominent election official, casting a shadow over the supervision of elections in a pivotal battleground state as the 2024 presidential election draws near. Following the recommendation for removal of Meagan Wolfe by a Republican-led committee, the full Senate expressed their stance with a stark party-line vote of 22 to 11 to terminate her. The intricate matter of her successor as the elections administrator is projected to unravel in court.
Though Wolfe has been ousted by this vote, the process to appoint her successor is poised to become a judicial affair. Adding another layer to this unfolding situation is a past decision by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which reached an impasse over Wolfe’s renomination earlier, with its Democratic members referencing a 2022 state Supreme Court ruling. This particular ruling allows officers to persist in their roles indefinitely, provided they don’t resign post their term’s expiration.
Wolfe’s tenure at the helm of the agency began in 2018. In the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat, she found herself in the crosshairs of Republican ire. The former president, supported by his GOP comrades, vocalized claims of a victory in Wisconsin. However, these assertions met judicial roadblocks: a federal lawsuit positing election theft was dismissed, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined another lawsuit aimed at negating his election defeat.
The critique of Wolfe doesn’t end there. Her policy initiatives, introduced in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, drew Republican scrutiny. The contentious measures involved a decision by the bipartisan commission permitting special voting deputies to facilitate absentee ballots and authorizing clerks to rectify minor discrepancies in absentee ballot addresses.
Adding perspective to this situation, two Republican commissioners, among the trio who voted against prolonging Wolfe’s term, justified their decision by lamenting the commission’s lack of testimony, as per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In a significant twist, Wolfe abstained from attending a pivotal Senate committee meeting that was meant to hear public testimony. She based her absence on a correspondence from Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, who articulated with certainty that Wolfe’s position remains unshaken and her employment is secure.
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