Wisconsin Senate Republicans Vote To Remove State’s Top Elections Official

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Sept. 14, Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted to remove Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) administrator Meagan Wolfe in a party line vote of 22-11.

The move is the final legislative step in a long and winding process that was fueled by Republican conspiracies surrounding the 2020 presidential election. As a nonpartisan elections official, Wolfe was nominated to lead WEC by the commission itself in 2019 and confirmed with unanimous support by the Wisconsin Senate. WEC is a bipartisan commission that was formed in 2016 to serve as the state’s election regulatory agency and carries out a wide range of election administration-related functions for the state. 

Yet following the 2020 election, Republicans in the state Senate turned on Wolfe, first calling for her resignation in 2021.

In June, WEC deadlocked on a vote to nominate Wolfe for a second term as three Democratic commissioners abstained from the vote. In accordance with state law, this stalemate meant that Wolfe would remain in the position as a holdover. Republicans in the state Senate then declared that WEC had nominated Wolfe for reappointment, and began the process that ultimately led to today’s removal. 

After a conspiracy-laden hearing two weeks ago, a Wisconsin Senate committee voted on party lines on Monday to move Wolfe’s nomination to the Senate floor, which led to the full vote today. 

Although no next steps exist for the Legislature, the dispute over her nomination is far from over as legal challenges are expected to be filed. Ahead of today’s vote, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) called the nomination illegal and said that the state Senate was “acting without authority.” The Wisconsin Legislative Council, which is nonpartisan, wrote in a legal memo that the move was improper. 

Read the legal memo from the Wisconsin Legislative Council here.

Read Kaul’s letter here.