Wisconsin clerk colleagues,
I write to you today after a challenging three years that have tested each one of us as individuals and as a community whose mission is to deliver fair and accurate elections to Wisconsinites. I am proud to say that despite the challenges, we have succeeded in our shared mission.
Based on recent media reports, you may be wondering about my future at the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) as my term as administrator ends on July 1. The truth is that I don’t know for certain at this point, but it’s clear that enough legislators have fallen prey to false information about my work and the work of this agency that my role here is at risk.
Ultimately, my future lies in the hands of our Commissioners and the legislators. It is the Commission chair who can set a meeting to discuss the administrator appointment, and the six-member Commission that has the power to choose who fills this role. The Senate then confirms a new administrator. While I don’t have control over what the Commission and the Legislature may decide, it’s important for me to communicate some hard truths about election administration in Wisconsin and the road ahead.
No matter what my future holds, my request of the Commission is that they select the path forward that offers this agency and Wisconsin’s election officials the best chance for stability in the coming months and years ahead. The 2024 presidential election is now less than a year and a half away, and much less so if you include preparations for the Spring Primary. It is critical that Wisconsin have a state chief election official who has the support of the clerks, Commission, Legislature, and public ahead of a series of elections that will no doubt receive more attention and scrutiny.
Regardless of who the Commission selects to lead this agency, my hope is that the Legislature works quickly to confirm them. For the good of the state, Wisconsin elections should be led by a confirmed administrator. And while I would ultimately support the Commission’s decision to go in the direction of appointing someone new, there is no substitute for my decade-plus of experience in helping run Wisconsin elections at the state level. It is a fact that if I am not selected for this role, Wisconsin would have a less experienced administrator at the helm.
I don’t expect you to risk your own positions to advocate for me and will never ask you to do that. Too much has been asked of you, and Wisconsin clerks have put themselves on the line over the past few years too often to keep count. However, I do hope that in the weeks and months ahead, you can speak truth about Wisconsin elections when opportunities arise in your communities.
False claims about election administration in the state of Wisconsin have proliferated since 2020. These claims are inaccurate and predicated on the false premise that the WEC administrator can make decisions unilaterally. This is simply not true. I do not have a vote on Commission matters. I have never had a vote on Commission matters. My job is to implement the decisions of the six-member, bipartisan Commission. Commission meetings are public and decisions issued by the Commission are always public. Contrary to what a vocal minority may claim, my tenure at the WEC has been marked by successfully run elections during some of the most difficult circumstances in our state and nation’s history. That is in no small part due to your hard work. Thank you for all those incredible efforts.
The days ahead are far from certain, but my hope remains that our six Commissioners arrive at a sustainable path forward – whether or not that includes me – by deliberating in an open meeting, in the same way they do for every other major issue that comes before them.
As we navigate the next few weeks, I hope that clerks will advocate for yourselves to the Commissioners and to legislators. I also appreciate your continued efforts to push back against the false claims about Wisconsin elections. Your voice of truth is important—now more than ever. Whatever happens to me, Wisconsin elections remain in the capable hands of each of our 1,850 municipal and 72 county clerks. Serving beside you is an honor that I don’t take lightly. I have every confidence that no matter the challenges before us, you will continue to deliver fair and accurate elections to each of your communities. Wisconsin is lucky to have you.
Meagan Wolfe, WEC Administrator