Wisconsin Elections Officials Overwhelmed by Legislature’s Open Records Request

Jan. 11, 2022 | MacIver News Service

On Dec. 22, 2021, the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections sent an open records request to WEC for records concerning all aspects on how the state runs elections. There were nine questions, and WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe answered many of them immediately.

There were some questions that she couldn’t answer, and she brought those to the attention of the elections commissioners during their Jan. 11th Zoom meeting.

She was not able to provide information about voters that WEC gets from the Election Registration Information Center (ERIC), because ERIC does not allow state election officials to share that information with anyone – even the legislatures that oversee them.

There were three other questions Wolfe was unable to answer, because she says the scope was too broad. One asked for all contract-related records for the state’s various voter ID systems for the past 20 years. Another was for all logs and registries associated with the Voter ID system. The last one was for all the information on all 7 million voters in the system.

Commissioner Mark Thomsen accused Republicans of attempting to overwhelm the commission during an election year. Commissioner Dean Knudson said the lawmakers were trying to catch Administrator Wolfe in a perjury trap. (Wolfe was caught lying to that committee in April over her role in the Zuckerbucks controversy.)

WEC said it was the broadest request it’s ever seen. the commissioners spent about an hour debating the implications of the request and what it would take to fulfill it. The commissioners basically agreed that the legislature would have to narrow their request, because WEC did not have the resources to fulfill it as currently written.

Wolfe’s draft response to the Assembly is posted below (questions addressed during the meeting are highlighted):