Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Calls for Democratic Chair’s Resignation

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Calls for Democratic Chair’s Resignation
Election officials count absentee ballots in Milwaukee, Wis., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Bill Pan

A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Dec. 1 called for the Democratic chairperson’s resignation over her confirmation of the state’s election results.

Commissioner Dean Knudson called for chair Ann Jacobs to resign after Jacobs verified that Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden had won in Wisconsin by about 20,700 votes, arguing that she should have waited to act because pending lawsuits by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign may reverse the outcome.

“I believe that I’ve lost all confidence in you as the chair,” Knudson said during the Dec. 1 meeting. “I can’t see that we can go forward as a group. I don’t think you realize even at this moment how much you have destroyed the bipartisan nature of what has gone on.”

Knudson and the two other Republican members failed to block the meeting from moving forward, as the majority of the commission voted to continue the meeting with its agenda, which included accepting the initial results of an audit of the state’s voting machines. The post-election audit, which is required by state law, is done by cross-checking a randomly selected 5 percent of voting machines across the state with a hand counting of paper ballots.

Knudson criticized Jacobs for accepting the results before commissioners had more information about the audit on the Dominion brand voting machines used in the presidential election. Last month, Trump claimed that those devices deleted hundreds of thousands of votes for him and switched many more to Joe Biden.

“I am in a position to look at the claims of fraud in Wisconsin, and I have yet to see a credible claim of fraudulent activity in this election,” said Knudson, who nevertheless wanted to wait until the lawsuits were resolved.

Jacobs promptly defended her actions, calling Knudson’s comments “misinformed.”

“Number one, I am not withdrawing this chair. Number two, what I did was not illegal. You are misinformed about what took place and absolutely incorrect,” said Jacobs.

Earlier this week, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit at the state Supreme Court seeking to invalidate hundreds of thousands of ballots, including some 221,000 absentee ballots cast in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s two major Democratic strongholds. Both counties have completed recounts last month requested and paid for by the Trump campaign.

The new lawsuit doesn’t claim fraud, but argues that election officials violated state laws when issuing absentee ballots.

“The remedy for these violations is expressly dictated by statute,” the complaint reads. “Ballots issued, accepted, and/or counted in violation of the specific provisions at issue in this case cannot be included in the certified results of the 2020 presidential election.”