Wisconsin Election Commission discusses investigating Dane, Milwaukee clerks

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MADISON, Wis. — On Sunday afternoon, the Wisconsin Elections Commission held an emergency meeting via teleconference to consider opening investigations into whether the Milwaukee and Dane County clerks “failed to comply with the law or abused the discretion vested in him or her.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers and elections officials are encouraging voters to request absentee ballots. Some voters claimed they couldn’t upload a picture of their voter ID in order to request a ballot.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson and Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell advised voters to indicate they are “indefinitely confined” in order to avoid having to upload their voter ID.

The clerks, both Democrats, are telling people that Evers’ stay-at-home order means everyone is indefinitely confined.

During Sunday’s emergency meeting, Commissioner Robert F. Spindell, Jr. made a motion to not launch an investigation, but instead deliver a message to Christenson and McDonell that their advice is wrong.

The commission could not agree on that motion — deadlocked 3-3.

Commissioner Mark L. Thomsen said opening an investigation into the clerks during the pandemic would make the commission look small.

He said he was “not going to vote for a motion to take up the public’s time to criticize two clerks that are trying to do their best.”

Thomsen also mentioned that Milwaukee and Dane counties are two of the largest communities in the state that are struggling the most with coronavirus cases.

After not being able to agree on a course of action, the commission moved into closed session “to discuss litigation strategies.”