A Questionable Commendation

Dan O’Donnell takes aim at Legislative Democrats, who are circulating a joint resolution commending the embattled Wisconsin Elections Commission.

February 4, 2022
Perspective by Dan O’Donnell

In a move that gives new meaning to the phrase “beyond parody,” Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature on Thursday circulated a joint resolution commending the “Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) and its staff for their outstanding service and dedication to Wisconsin elections” by working “diligently to ensure to ensure that Wisconsin elections are free and fair.”

Because of WEC’s repeated refusal to follow state law, elections in the state have been neither free nor fair.  But then, seeing as Democrats have been the beneficiaries of this, it would make sense that they want to honor their friends in the “nonpartisan” agency.

Naturally, the 23 Assembly Democrats and give Senate Democrats who circulated the resolution for co-authorship Thursday afternoon included in it a reference to the unprecedented threats to [WEC commissioners’ and staffers’] safety and well-being and unfounded attempts to undermine their credibility.”

No Republican in the state has been able to undermine WEC as thoroughly as WEC itself.  In October, an actual nonpartisan agency—the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB)—released a damning report outlining the many ways in which WEC refused to follow state law during administration of the 2020 Presidential Election.

Chief among them was the patently illegal guidance WEC gave municipal clerks indicating that clerks could correct missing or incorrect information on absentee ballot certificates.  Under state law, clerks are required to mail a ballot with missing information back to the voter.  The voter then cures the ballot certificate and mails it back to the clerk.  Instead, WEC for years allowed clerks to simply cure ballots themselves, which resulted in an estimated 135,000 illegally counted ballots in 2020.

“Commending WEC after violating the law on curing ballots and eliminating special voting deputies is equivalent to giving the Lombardi trophy to the Detroit Lions,” said Rep. Janel Brandtjen.

WEC similarly violated the plain letter of state law when it pulled special voting deputies from nursing homes.  Wisconsin law requires all voting in assisted living facilities to be handled by two election workers, one from each major political party.  Nursing home staff members are expressly prohibited from assisting residents in voting.  Citing the pandemic, WEC ignored this law altogether.

As a result, untold hundreds of nursing home residents may have had their votes stolen from them. The Racine County Sheriff’s Office uncovered dozens of examples of obvious vote theft from one nursing home in Mount Pleasant alone.  Investigators alleged serious criminal misconduct, which extended to WEC itself.  Since commissioners and their staff intentionally caused these nursing home staff members to violate election law, they were themselves in violation of the state’s election fraud statute.

And now Democrats want to commend them for it.

“Commending WEC after violating the law on curing ballots and eliminating special voting deputies is equivalent to giving the Lombardi trophy to the Detroit Lions,” said Rep. Janel Brandtjen, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections.

An even more appropriate analogy would be the Lions giving a game ball to the referees after a win over the Packers.  WEC is supposed to be the neutral arbiter of election law in Wisconsin, but it is obvious that Democrats see it as part of their team.

After the way WEC refereed the 2020 election, can you blame them?