Kleefisch proposes shifting some election duties to DOJ

February 14, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Rebecca Kleefisch on Monday proposed shifting some election-related duties from the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission to the state Department of Justice.

Kleefisch is a former lieutenant governor under Scott Walker who supports dissolving the commission that Republicans created and that Walker signed into law.

Another Republican running for governor, former Marine Kevin Nicholson, also wants to do away with the elections commission, but he wants to shift its duties to the secretary of state’s office, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Both the current secretary of state, Doug La Follette, and attorney general, Josh Kaul, are Democrats. They are both up for reelection in November.


Under Kleefisch’s plan, the state attorney general would have jurisdiction to prosecute voting violations, shift election audits to DOJ, and make it easier for the public to obtain copies of the state voter list. She would make access to the list free to the public, instead of the current $12,500 fee.

Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers’ campaign said Kleefisch’s plan would further politicize election outcomes.

“You can’t dissolve a state agency every time you disagree with the outcome of a fair election,” said Sam Roecker, campaign spokesman for Evers. “Sadly, Rebecca Kleefisch wants to inject more chaos and division into Wisconsin elections, even if it means destroying the bipartisan system Republicans created and the Walker-Kleefisch administration signed into law.”

Kleefisch’s proposal and the idea from Nicholson both came two days after state Rep. Timothy Ramthun entered the Republican primary for governor with a campaign endorsed by top allies of former President Donald Trump that is entirely focused on overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election.

He did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will advance to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November.