GOP candidate for governor sues state Elections Commission

New Group Forms To Help Republican Kleefisch Win Election
John Hart

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2021, file photo, former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch announces her candidacy for office of Governor at Western States Envelope Company in Butler, Wis. A new political action committee headed by a longtime Republican operative has formed to help Kleefisch win the governor's race. Stephan Thompson, who previously served as head of the Wisconsin Republican Party and ran Gov. Scott Walker's 2014 reelection campaign, announced Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 that he will lead the new group known as Freedom Wisconsin.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch is suing the Wisconsin Elections Commission seeking to suspend the guidance the agency gave to local election clerks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit by the former lieutenant governor comes after the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau issued a report last month that said it found no evidence of any fraud in the state’s 2020 election, but did make dozens of recommendations on improving how elections are run.

Kleefisch alleges the commission broke the law in late March 2020 when it issued guidance allowing local clerks to consolidate polling places in the April 7 spring election.

State law requires polling places to be established at least 30 days before an election. Cities, including Milwaukee and Green Bay, drastically reduced the number of polling places due to public health concerns over COVID-19 and a lack of enough poll workers.

Kleefisch has asked the court to immediately suspend the bipartisan commission’s “unlawful guidance and order the commission to follow the laws set by the people of Wisconsin through their legislature,” the State Journal reported.

The lawsuit also challenges the commission’s guidance to local clerks that they did not need to send poll workers into nursing homes to assist with absentee voting after many were turned away amid the pandemic.

That decision has met with criticism from several state Republicans.