Experts say decision to remove Wisconsin's top election official could have lasting impacts

The administrator serves as a neutral party on the panel and a political scientist says losing that isn't going to end without a fight.
Posted at 10:51 AM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 11:51:39-04

MILWAUKEE — The decision to oust the head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission comes with more than just a change at the top.

During the 2020 election, election administrators faced growing pressure to come up with systems and processes that would work and keep voters safe.

Now, those administrators across the country are facing challenges and backlash, including here in Wisconsin.

“Many of those decisions were controversial. Many wound up being challenged in court and a lot of the post-election controversy has been targeted at Meagan Wolfe,” said Anthony Chergosky.

That also includes people who deny the outcome of the election.

State GOP leaders have said their focus to remove the nonpartisan official was a top priority before next year.

“There's going to be real uncertainty surrounding who exactly is in charge of elections in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, all eyes around the nation are going to be on Wisconsin because Wisconsin could very well be the decisive state in the Electoral College for the 2024 election,” said Chergosky.

Anthony Chergosky is an assistant professor of Political Science at UW-La Crosse.

He says the decision to remove the head of WEC is a troubling one.

The panel is made up of 3 Democratic and 3 Republican members.

The administrator serves as a neutral party and Chergosky says losing that isn't going to end without a fight.

“Elections do not administer themselves. There need to be officials in government who make the day-to-day decisions about how people can cast their vote,” said Chergosky.

Chergosky says the goal for both sides of the aisle should be making sure whoever sits in that seat can keep our state’s elections free and fair.

“Election law is what it is, but people have to carry out that law. People have to interpret that law,” said Chergosky.