'Here & Now' Highlights: Don Millis, Charles Franklin

Here's what guests on the November 10, 2023 episode said about disinformation in the move to impeach Wisconsin's top elections official and how 2024 presidential candidates are polling one year before the vote.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

November 13, 2023

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Frederica Freyberg sits at a desk on the Here & Now set and faces a video monitor showing an image of Don Millis.

Frederica Freyberg and Don Millis (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

A political ad calling for the impeachment of Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe is “demonstrably false,” said the Republican chair of the agency Don Millis, who is angry media outlets are taking money to air and publish the spot. A Marquette University Law School poll one year out from the 2024 election measures registered voters’ preferences in the presidential race — poll director Charles Franklin describes these findings as well as opinions on state elected officials.

Don Millis
Chair, Wisconsin Elections Commission

  • Even as Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said, “We need to move forward and talk about the issues that matter to most Wisconsinites and that is not, for most Wisconsinites, obsessing about Meagan Wolfe,” some of his fellow Republicans are ramping up efforts to impeach the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Those calls include an advertisement that accuses Wolfe of she approving “illegal drop boxes,” “ballot harvesting” and “Zuckerbucks” — allegations that Republican appointee Mills calls lies.
  • Millis: “With respect to the first two items, it wasn’t her choice. The election commission on a unanimous bipartisan vote approved of the unstaffed drop boxes and also to the extent that harvesting was permitted under that, it was part of the same thing. Administrator Wolfe was just carrying out those plans with respect to the so-called ‘Zuckerbucks.’ There is nothing that state government could do because the courts have since determined that the local governments accepting those funds were perfectly legal. There was a lawsuit of the commission — part of my being on the commission voted to dismiss that complaint, and that was confirmed. We know that because the Legislature is now trying to amend the Constitution to prohibit the use of such private funds, and I think there’s some merit to that. But blaming Administrator Wolfe makes no sense because it wasn’t her call.”


Charles Franklin
Director, Marquette University Law School Poll

  • A Marquette University Law School poll released Nov. 8 shows 2024 Republican primary candidate former President Donald Trump continues to gain support among registered voters in Wisconsin. Still, the survey shows Democratic President Joe Biden polling two points ahead of him. — inside the margin of error. However, the poll shows that if Trump is not in the mix of primary candidates, Republican candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Nikki Haley are both in front of Biden, with Haley’s lead outside the margin of error.
  • Franklin: “In the primaries, Trump’s lead is huge. It’s 20 points in our poll, this time for Republicans. But the two point margins for Trump or for DeSantis, our margin of error is four and-a-half points. So those are really tossups. But you can see DeSantis doing a little bit better than Trump does when paired against Biden. What’s interesting is the Nikki Haley performance — a plus-nine lead for her. I mean, that’s phenomenal and not realistic if we were in a general election. But what we see in the data is, first, about a third of the public say they don’t know much about Nikki Haley. When she’s paired against Biden, I think that lack of knowledge and the fact that she’s not closely identified with the Trump wing of the party allows independents and some Democrats who have reservations about Biden for various reasons – the economy, his age and so on — it allows them to say they would vote for that Republican who’s not from the Trump wing of the party. Conversely, people’s opinions of Trump and Biden are so set in stone that we end up with this near tie there. And, indeed, independents split evenly between Trump and Biden, but independents get 58% of their vote to Nikki Haley.”


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