Lawmakers Order WEC to Comply with State Law

State Capitol, Madison, Wisconsin

Jan. 10, 2022 | MacIver News Service

The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) swears it did not break state elections law in 2020 despite the findings of the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB), and lawmakers say it’s time to prove it.

In October, LAB reported that WEC broke at least five state laws. It did not have the authority to issue guidance to local officials authorizing ballot drop boxes or absentee ballot “curing.” That guidance should have been published as an emergency rule, allowing the legislature to approve or reject it.

It’s been over two months since that report, and WEC has yet to submit emergency rules to the legislature for approval.

On Monday, January 10, 2022, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted to require WEC to provide proof that it has the legal authority to issue guidance about drop boxes and ballot curing and submit an emergency rule for legislative approval, or stop issuing that guidance to clerks.

Sen. Nass, JCRAR Co-Chair, released a matter-of-fact statement, “Today, the legislature through the JCRAR has commenced the statutory procedures to compel the staff and commissioners of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rapidly comply with state law.”

The JCRAR vote was not unanimous. All four Democrats – Sen. Kelda Roys, Sen. Chris Larson, Rep. Gery Hebl, and Rep Lisa Subeck – voted against it and accused the Republicans of attacking democracy.

“Senator Nass and the Republicans on JCRAR announced a vote to further limit voter participation. Nass and others are hell-bent on maintaining power, even if it means undermining democracy. From their illegitimate gerrymandered majority to voter suppression and amplifying the Big Lie, Wisconsin’s legislative Republicans have made their disdain for Wisconsin voters clear,” the Democrats said in a statement.