Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission in an effort to force it to comply with state law in the runup to the 2022 election.
Kleefisch on Monday filed an original action before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the Court to take up the suit without having it first go before lower courts.
"The rulemaking and policy authority of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is in disarray and will remain so until this Court accepts jurisdiction and timely answers disputed issues of law necessary for a fair and orderly 2022 election," the lawsuit states.
Kleefisch alleges that WEC has been violating sate law in its guidance to local election officials on "the propriety of unattended drop boxes, the role of special voting deputies at residential care facilities and qualified nursing homes, [and] the consolidation of polling places."
In an audit released last month, the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) determined last month that WEC's guidance allowing ballots to be submitted in unstaffed drop boxes violated state law. WEC, the LAB found, needed to use the administrative rulemaking process to authorize drop boxes, but it did not.
LAB also determined that WEC's guidance allowing local election officials to consolidate polling places because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020 Spring Election, the City of Milwaukee reduced the number of polling places from 180 to 5, while Green Bay reduced its number of locations from 31 to 2.
Kleefisch is asking the Supreme Court to declare this guidance to be contrary to state law and thus null and void.
WEC has publicly disputed the LAB audit's findings.
Kleefisch's lawsuit further argues that WEC's removal of special voting deputies from nursing was unlawful and, citing a Racine County Sheriff's Department investigation, may have led to widespread fraud in nursing homes.
"This court should enter a declaratory judgment...that the WEC guidance as to drop boxes, special voting deputies, and consolidated polling places...is contrary to law, and that any such guidance must be enacted through administrative rulemaking," Kleefisch's lawsuit alleges.