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Proposal abolishes WEC, gives elections duties to Secretary of State

For the first time in decades, an elected official could be at the controls when you head to the polls next year. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a group of Republican legislators proposes to dissolve the Wisconsin Election Commission and hand their duties to the Secretary of the State’s office. The Secretary of the State’s office, now run by Democrat Sarah Godlewski, has not had elections under their purview since the 1970s as Wisconsin is one of seven states where the state board or commission of elections appoints the chief election official. Wisconsin would join 33 other states where voters elect a Secretary of the State or Lieutenant Governor to run the elections. The proposal would turn the reins of elections to Godlewski from current WEC Commissioner Megan Wolfe after June 30th.  However, she would still need approval from the Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature before acting on anything. Proponents of the measure say WEC’s handling of the 2020 election, which saw Joe Biden get elected president, was the final straw. That led to several changes to absentee voting and to impeachment articles to be forwarded against Wolfe by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos last month. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says having a non-partisan or bipartisan commission worked for over 50 years is a much better option than turning the operations of an election to one party or the other.

Even if it gets through the Wisconsin Legislature, Heck suggests Governor Tony Evers will likely veto it. The proposal still needs to be circulated, vetted, and approved by the Legislature before it gets to that point.

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