Don Millis makes his case for why he should be elected chair of the WEC. (Screenshot | WisEye)
The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) elected Don Millis, the body’s newly appointed Republican member, as its next chair in a 5-1 vote.
As chair, Millis will have the ability to set the commission’s agenda, direct questions to the agency’s nonpartisan staff and certify the results of this fall’s midterm elections. Millis was appointed to the body this week by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos following the resignation of Dean Knudson.
The six-member commission is divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats. One member from each party is a former election clerk and statutorily prevented from being elected chair. The chair position is required to switch parties every two years. Millis replaces Democratic chairwoman Ann Jacobs.
Besides Millis, the only Republican eligible for the position was Robert Spindell. Spindell has been outspoken in his belief that the 2020 presidential election was conducted unfairly and was one of 10 Republicans to cast a false Electoral College vote for former President Donald Trump. Spindell nominated himself to be chair but the motion to elect him failed to receive a second and a vote wasn’t even held. Spindell was the only commissioner to vote against Millis as chair.
Millis, who previously served on the WEC when it was first established in 2016 and the former Elections Board in the 1990s, said he believes his experience will help him lead the commission at a time when it is under intense scrutiny from Republicans skeptical of its role and clamoring for its disbanding.
“The elections commission, elections board, whatever body you have, should be like a referee in a football game or an umpire in a baseball game,” Millis said. “You shouldn’t see them, they should be there just to administer the law. And it grieves me that the elections commission has gotten so much attention. Now, we can argue about whose fault it is, whether it’s the commission, the commissioners, the staff, or the politicians. But it’s clear that the commission is in the spotlight more than it should be.”
He continued: “I think I have the skills and the temperament to try to do what is necessary to make sure that changes in the election law, and to the extent there are changes in the administration of the election law, are going to be rational and are going to put the people of the state of Wisconsin, the electors, first.”
Millis’ first full meeting as chair of the body is scheduled for July 22.
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