Elections Commissioner Ann Jacobs defends strategy in Wolfe/Senate split



(The Center Square) – One of the Democratic members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is calling a possible Senate vote on the state’s election administrator a “sideshow.”

Commissioner Ann Jacobs was on UPFRONT over the weekend, where she said there’s no reason for the Senate to vote on Meagan Wolfe’s job with the Commission.

“The statutes that govern appointment of an administrator in the Wisconsin Elections Commission are very clear, and they begin with the clause ‘If a vacancy occurs.’ Quite simply, under the law itself, a vacancy hasn’t occurred. And that’s not just something that’s a political view, it’s a statement of the law,” Jacobs explained. “What I think is next is the Commission is going to continue to do its work, and Administrator [Meagan] Wolfe is going to continue in her role. And we’re going to watch this interesting sideshow continue.”

A number of Republicans and at least one Democrat in the Wisconsin Senate want to remove Wolfe as elections boss because of how she handled the 2020 election.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said last week that – because Republican members of Elections Commission voted 3-0 and the commissions three Democrats all abstained – there is a two-thirds vote to send her nomination for a second term to the Senate for confirmation.

Both LeMahieu and Jacobs are interpreting a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision from last year dealing with a vacancy on the state’s Department of Natural Resources Board differently.

“The decision which governed the holdover of DNR member Frederick Prehn [makes it] very clear that the Commission doesn’t have the authority to nominate anyone unless they remove the existing administrator. There weren’t the votes to do that, certainly the three republicans who voted to approve her make that clear. So the commission couldn’t act, and abstention was the right move to reinforce that fact,” Jacobs added.

Jacobs said “all votes are strategies,” and defended this one from Commission Democrats.

When pressed on how the legal maneuvering may impact the 2024 Election, Jacobs said keeping Wolfe as elections administrator would be the best way to ensure a smoother election this time around.

“One of the challenges with election law here in Wisconsin is the conspiracy theories that have swirled around every aspect of our elections. But you have to keep your eye on the prize, and what we need to do is have a well-run, accurate election in 2024 the way we did in 2020. The way to do that is to maintain the strong leadership Meagan Wolfe has had. It’s not to bring in some novice or random person off the street to run the elections commission,” Jacobs added.



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