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Outrage Grows Over ‘Incredible Disaster’ Requiring Absentee Wisconsinites To Commit Fraud Or Not Vote

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe addresses commissioners.
Image Credit WISN 12 News / Youtube 

‘There is no trail for requesting a ballot. … This would make the mail-in delivery system untraceable,’ Rep. Brandtjen warned.


Three days after a Wisconsin judge slapped a temporary restraining order on the state’s election regulator, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) still wasn’t commenting about its latest legal scrape. But state lawmakers were — including the former chairwoman of the Assembly’s Elections Committee, who called WEC’s alleged violation of election law the “absentee ballot scandal of 2024.” 

As The Federalist first reported on Friday, Judge James Morrison issued the restraining order, enjoining WEC from requiring that Wisconsin’s approximately 1,900 local election clerks use legally suspect absentee ballot envelopes while the court deliberates on the merits of the complaint. 

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of a Wisconsin voter by attorneys Kevin Scott and Daniel Eastman, alleges the elections commission leaves Badger State voters in the untenable position of committing election fraud or opting not to cast an absentee ballot. 

The complaint charges that in approving new ballot envelopes recommended by WEC staff, the commission violated Wisconsin election law. If used, the envelopes “would cause voters to falsely certify that the ballot envelope itself is an original or a copy of the ballot request generated through MyVote when it is not in any way.” MyVote is the state’s online portal for voters to request absentee ballots.

“By forcing people to falsely certify that the return envelope itself is a copy of a completely different document, WEC created a situation where people who requested absentee ballots through MyVote were either committing election fraud by making a false statement in conjunction with voting a ballot, or were forced to not vote absentee — a Hobson’s choice,” Scott told The Federalist. 

‘Incredible Disaster’

It seems the six commissioners — three Democrats and three Republicans — again took questionable advice from the agency attorneys. 

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, said the latest WEC scandal is an “incredible disaster.” Not only does it put the state in a difficult legal position, WEC’s “fix” to its ballot request problems diminishes election security by weakening the ballot chain of custody for absentee ballots, the lawmaker said. 

“There is no trail for requesting a ballot. … This would make the mail-in delivery system untraceable,” said Brandtjen, who was tapped by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, in 2021 to lead the Assembly’s investigation into the 2020 election. Vos ultimately removed Brandtjen from the position after taking heat from the left and their friends in the accomplice media, who labeled as “election deniers” anyone who questioned the integrity of election administration. 

“Do you just want to hand the election to the Democrats?” Brandtjen said. Swing-state Wisconsin is expected to play a pivotal role in deciding the next president. “There is no downside to cheating in the state of Wisconsin with Republicans who are uneducated or unwilling to understand election law as it stands.” 

A commission spokesman has not returned multiple requests for comment since Friday. Bob Spindell, a Republican-appointed commissioner, declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit. 

“Rather than carrying out and enforcing election laws as written, WEC administrators are trying to find a way to skirt state statutes,” state Sen. Julian Bradley, a Milwaukee-area Republican, told The Federalist. “Anytime an unelected bureaucrat decides not to follow the letter of the law — or even worse, create new law themselves — it raises concern. We must follow the law and conduct free and fair elections.”

Brandtjen is renewing the call to remove controversial Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe and dissolve an agency that has had trouble following Wisconsin election law over its tumultuous existence. A group of lawmakers in December proposed a bill to dissolve WEC and turn over election administration to the secretary of state’s office. Sarah Godlewski, the current secretary of state, appointed last year by Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, is a far-left political climber, but it’s an elected post, and Republicans believe Godlewski will have difficulty winning the statewide election. 

Efforts to remove Wolfe from office, including a fizzled impeachment campaign, have failed. She’s effectively been squatting in the administrator’s position since last fall when the Republican-controlled legislature tried unsuccessfully to fire the embattled elections chief. 

The litigation involving the ballot envelopes is the latest in a long line of complaints against a dysfunctional elections commission and Wolfe. 

WEC appears to be caught in a problem of its own making. 

‘Foment Election Fraud’

In another Wisconsin election law case earlier this year, a voter challenged the commission’s legal authority to operate MyVote. WEC argued that all requests made through the website are “email” requests, an allowable method of seeking an absentee ballot under Wisconsin election law. 

WEC officials submitted sworn testimony stating that when an elector seeks an absentee ballot through MyVote, the “request” for the ballot is a form generated by the system once the individual completes the online process. The argument is a stretch, but Ozaukee County Judge Steven Cain bought it and held that all requests made through MyVote were “email” requests and allowable under the statute. The plaintiff is appealing that ruling. 

But the allowance seems to have created a snag for WEC. If an applicant requests an absentee ballot by email, Wisconsin statutes require the elector to include “in the envelope” a copy of the “request” for the ballot “bearing an original signature.”  

“This language found in the new EL-122 [form] ran directly contrary to the sworn testimony provided in the [Ozaukee County] case upon which Judge Cain relied,” Scott said. And it opened up the Hobson’s choice to hundreds of thousands of electors who prefer voting by absentee ballot. 

“… WEC has approved the use of new absentee ballot return envelopes that exacerbate and foment election fraud — as defined by Wisconsin Statutes — by coercing a voter returning an absentee ballot requested through MyVote to falsely certify that the envelope itself is a ‘copy’ of the absentee ballot request,” the complaint states. “The new WEC envelope is not a replacement for a signed copy of the ballot request to be included ‘in the envelope’ in which the ballot is returned as required by section 6.87(4).”

Elections Commission ‘Out of Control’

WEC used $600,000 in a nearly $1.2 million U.S. Election Assistance Commission HAVA (Help America Vote Act) grant for the new absentee ballot envelopes. The grant funds were designated for “election security” funding. 

Scott asserts that the federal election funds are being used to “coerce Wisconsin voters into making false statements in regard to voting.” He called it “the height of irony.”

While Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of trying to “suppress” voters, WEC’s new absentee ballot envelopes actually do disenfranchise Wisconsin absentee voters, Eastman said. 

“So at this point in Wisconsin, the only way that you can vote is in-person at a polling place because you can’t use the envelope until WEC fixes the envelope, or, you know, unless the judge pulls the TRO [temporary restraining order],” said the attorney Monday at a press conference in Union Grove. “The point is, we have a state agency that is simply out of control.”

Morrison has scheduled a June 5 hearing on the merits of the lawsuit. The Marinette County judge is expected to ultimately determine whether WEC has once again violated Wisconsin election law and whether the injunction will remain permanently in effect. 

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