Stability in the Elections System
A Wisconsin judge has ruled that Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official, is legally holding office. Dane County Circuit Judge Ann Peacock determined that there is no obligation for the Wisconsin Elections Commission to replace Wolfe, as her reappointment vote ended in a deadlock last year.
In her order, Peacock emphasized that the public expects stability in the elections system, and this ruling will provide stability while protecting against any further legally unsupported removal attempts.
Conspiracy Theories and Threats
Wolfe has been the subject of conspiracy theories and has faced threats from election skeptics who falsely claim she was involved in a plot to rig the 2020 vote in favor of Joe Biden. However, Biden’s victory in Wisconsin has been confirmed through recounts, audits, and multiple lawsuits.
Instability for Local Clerks
The fight over who will run the state’s elections agency, known as the WEC, has caused instability ahead of this year’s presidential race for Wisconsin’s more than 1,800 local clerks who actually run elections.
Senate Republicans voted to fire Wolfe in September, despite objections from Democrats and nonpartisan attorneys who argued that the Senate lacked the authority to vote at that time. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul sued to challenge the vote, and Republican legislative leaders later claimed their vote was merely “symbolic” and had no legal effect.
Judge’s Ruling and Actions
Judge Peacock’s ruling states that Wolfe is legally serving as the administrator of the elections commission as a holdover since the commission deadlocked on her reappointment. The Senate’s vote to remove her was deemed to have no legal effect. The judge also clarified that the commission is not obligated to appoint a new leader while Wolfe continues to serve as a holdover.
In addition, Peacock ruled that a legislative leadership committee does not have the power to appoint an interim administrator while Wolfe is serving. She ordered Republican legislative leaders not to take any action contrary to her ruling.
As of now, Meagan Wolfe and Republican leaders, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, have not provided any comments on the ruling.