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Attorney general says Wolfe rightfully in place

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(The Center Square) – Meagan Wolfe and state Attorney General Josh Kaul say she will not be appearing before the Senate Committee on Elections.

Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, is under fire for her handling of an election three years ago. A number of Republican senators, as well as at least one Democrat, want to remove Wolfe from the Elections Commission.

Kaul penned a letter to the Legislature, writing in part, “WEC has not appointed a new administrator, and there is no WEC administrator appointment before the Senate. This is not a close question under state law.”

Wolfe has been reluctant to answer any questions about the 2020 election.

In a statement, she said, “Given the position taken by the Department of Justice, which is representing the WEC, I won’t attend Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing. As the state’s chief election official, engaging with lawmakers is a critical part of my role, and I look forward to discussing the good work of the commission with them in the future.”

The disagreement stems from a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision last year in the case of a holdover member of the Natural Resources Board. The Senate refused to vote on Gov. Tony Evers’ replacement for Frederick Prehn. The court ruled that because the Senate did not confirm a replacement, Prehn could continue on the board.

The Elections Commission refused to nominate Wolfe for a second term as administrator to keep her from getting a confirmation vote in the Senate.

“[The] Wisconsin Supreme Court has squarely held that a holdover appointee may legally remain in office following the expiration of the appointee’s term, and the expiration of the term does not create a vacancy in office,” Kaul wrote. “Administrator Wolfe is a lawful holdover in her position. The Senate therefore has no current authority to confirm or reject the appointment of a WEC administrator.”

In its meeting next week, the Committee on Elections is expected to consider an audit of the 2020 election in addition to the question about Wolfe’s appointment.

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