Kleefisch files lawsuit against elections commission

By: - November 15, 2021 2:53 pm
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and senior Wisconsin National Guard officials joined family and friends in welcoming home members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin National Guard photo by Vaughn R. Larson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) on Monday that asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court to order the WEC to establish rules guiding the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots, special voting deputies (SVDs) in nursing home facilities and how the locations of polling places can be changed. 

Kleefisch, who was Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor when the WEC was established in 2015, is basing the lawsuit on recommended actions from a report by the Legislative Audit Bureau. 

“Our freedom, our way of life, and the future of our great nation all depend on free and fair elections — elections where every voter can trust the process and the result,” Kleefisch said. “Wisconsinites are sick and tired of unelected bureaucrats intentionally ignoring the law. The lawsuit forces WEC to clean up their act prior to administering the 2022 election.”

In 2020, the WEC issued guidance to local clerks over how to administer an election during a pandemic

The use of drop boxes allowed voters to turn in absentee ballots without having to go into a city office or rely on the U.S. Postal Service, which was dealing with delays because of an influx of election-related mail. The commission also told clerks to forgo the use of special voting deputies, who help residents of care facilities cast ballots. SVDs are supposed to try twice to enter the facilities, but because nursing home visitors were restricted during the pandemic the WEC chose to instead just use the normal absentee ballot process for these voters. Local clerks were also forced to change regular polling places because normally used facilities were preventing visitors during the pandemic. 

The Kleefisch lawsuit alleges that all of these decisions made by the WEC during the 2020 election cycle violated the law. 

“This dispute involves significant, important, and ongoing election issues,” the lawsuit states. “WEC guidance and the LAB Report are in direct opposition on the election issue raised here. A county sheriff even contends that WEC advice on special voting deputies is criminal. WEC admits that as a result of existing audits and investigations, it ‘has received numerous questions.’ Without timely intervention by this Court, the role of WEC in ensuring a fair and impartial 2022 election is in doubt.” 

Kleefisch’s campaign website, which includes policy topics she supports without more detailed plans, states that “securing our elections” is one of her top priorities.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.