Wisconsin Elections Commission official touts experience, calls for stability

Meagan Wolfe, the nonpartisan administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, called for commissioners to prioritize stability, whether that means reappointment or choosing someone else to oversee the agency in advance of the 2024 vote.

Associated Press

June 14, 2023

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Meghan Wolfe sits on one side of a row of tables arranged at a right angle, with other people seated to her side, in a room with a whiteboard and U.S. flag.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, seated at rear, attends a meeting of commissioners on June 1, 2023. Wolfe on June 14 broke silence about her uncertain future leading the statewide elections commission, calling for stability ahead of the 2024 presidential election and asking local election officials to continue fighting against election lies. (Credit: Courtesy of WisconsinEye)

AP News

By Harm Venhuizen, AP/Report for America

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s top elections official, who has faced Republican criticism for how she ran the battleground state’s 2020 presidential election, pushed June 14 for officials to vote to keep her for another term or pick a successor who will support stability.

Meagan Wolfe, the nonpartisan administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, touted her experience but vowed to support a decision to appoint someone else to oversee the agency and guide the roughly 1,800 local clerks who run elections.

Wolfe’s term ends on July 1, and the road forward is uncertain. Commissioners are weighing the chances of their appointee surviving confirmation in the Senate, where some lawmakers have vowed not to support Wolfe. A June 2022 Supreme Court ruling could let the commission decide to keep Wolfe in office without a Senate confirmation vote.

“While I would ultimately support the Commission’s decision to go in the direction of appointing someone new, there is no substitute for my decade-plus of experience in helping run Wisconsin elections at the state level,” Wolfe said in a letter to county and municipal clerks. “It is a fact that if I am not selected for this role, Wisconsin would have a less experienced administrator at the helm.”

She called on the Senate to quickly confirm whoever the six bipartisan election commissioners appoint.

Republican lawmakers have called for her resignation amid former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The outcome in Wisconsin has withstood two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a conservative law firm’s review, numerous state and federal lawsuits, and a Republican-ordered review that found no evidence of widespread fraud before the investigator was fired.

Wolfe, one of the most respected election officials in the U.S., has served as president of nationally recognized election organizations including the National Association of State Election Directors and Electronic Registration Information Center.

But some Republican lawmakers have already promised to vote against her confirmation if she is reappointed, including Senate President Chris Kapenga, who has said “there’s no way” she will be confirmed.

Wolfe defended her work and the commission against what she called “false information” by “a vocal minority,” saying in her letter that she’s run successful elections “during some of the most difficult circumstances in our state and nation’s history.”

Don Millis, the Republican chair of the elections commission, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press but told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he plans to call a vote on appointing an administrator and that it would be neglecting the commission’s duties not to do so.

Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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