Wisconsin’s embattled election leader is holding office legally, judge rules


Madison, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin judge ruled Friday that the state’s top elections official is legally holding her position and that the commission that appointed her is not obligated to name a new leader. another loss To the Republicans who have tried to oust him.

Bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked in June Vote to reappoint Megan Wolfe The President as administrator of elections in the battleground state. The three Republican commissioners voted in favor, but the three Democrats abstained, preventing the nomination from going before the state Senate because that would have allowed Republicans to dismiss him. Commission actions require a majority of four votes.

Wolf has been the subject of conspiracy theories and targeted by threats from election skeptics who falsely claim she was part of a conspiracy to rig the 2020 vote in favor of President Joe Biden. Biden defeated Donald Trump by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin in 2020, and his victory has withstood two partial recounts, a non-partisan audit, a review by a conservative law firm and multiple state and federal lawsuits.

The fight over who will run the state elections agency, known as WEC, has created instability ahead of this year’s presidential race for Wisconsin’s more than 1,800 local clerks, who actually call the elections. Let’s run.

“I agree with the WEC that the public expects stability in their election system and this injunction will provide stability to protect against any legally unsupported removal efforts,” Dane County Circuit Judge Ann Peacock said in her order Friday. “

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Senate Republicans voted in September to fire wolfeDespite objections from Democrats and the Legislature’s non-partisan lawyers, who said the Senate did not have the authority to vote at the time because Wolf was a holdover in his post and had not been reappointed.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit to challenge that vote, and in court filings, Republican legislative leaders changed course and claimed that their vote to fire Wolf was merely “symbolic” and had no legal effect, He also asked the judge to order the Election Commission to appoint an administrator to conduct the vote in the Senate.

Peacocke said in her ruling Friday that Wolfe is legally serving as a holdover as the Election Commission’s administrator, as the commission deadlocks over whether to reappoint her. The Senate vote to remove him had no legal effect, Peacock ruled for a second time, and the commission has no duty to appoint a new leader, with Wolfe serving as a holdover.

The judge also ruled that the Legislative Leadership Committee has no power to appoint an interim administrator while Wolfe is serving. He also ordered Republican legislative leaders not to take any action contrary to his decision.

Wolfe did not respond to a message seeking comment. Republican legislative leaders — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu — also did not respond to messages.

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