The case Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) concerns the WEC policy adopted during the 2020 presidential election that permits absentee voting via drop boxes as well as ballot harvesting. The court of appeals ruled that the memorandum issued by the WEC violated the state's laws on elections that state absentee voting ballots “shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.” The brief, jointly filed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin, requests that the Wisconsin Supreme Court uphold the lower court's decision.
“The RNC is joining with the NRSC and Wisconsin Republican Party to file a Supreme Court amicus brief in Wisconsin because appointed election officials have no right to circumvent election laws duly passed by state legislatures,” RNC (Republican National Committee) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News. “Wisconsin has clear laws against ballot harvesting, but activist members of the unelected Wisconsin Elections Commission disregarded them in the 2020 election. Republicans will not allow such un-democratic attacks on election integrity to go unchallenged.”
The NRSC’s chair, Senator Rick Scott (R.FL), also emphasized the “threat to the integrity of our votes” during an interview with Breitbart News.
“We need maximum participation in our elections with zero fraud, but we have unfortunately seen unelected bureaucrats and election officials recently carry out activities across our nation that have threatened the integrity of our votes. In Wisconsin, we are now seeing a rewrite of voting laws to include unsupervised, vulnerable drop boxes, which is not only against the law but Americans overwhelmingly reject [it],” Scott stated.
“Americans want secure elections, and what's happening in Wisconsin is incredibly concerning. I'm proud to join Chairwoman McDaniel and the Republican National Committee in filing this amicus brief and hope the court acts decisively to protect our elections,” he continued.
According to the filing, the WEC is authorized only to enforce and administer Wisconsin laws “as expressly set forth by the Legislature” and has “no authority to promulgate new election-related laws.”
“To the contrary, WEC's new methods of delivery of completed absentee ballots–untethered to any legislative grant, authorization, or safeguards–are ripe for fraud, undue influence, or similar abuse, which is exactly what the Legislature expressly intended to prevent when it authorized voting by absentee ballot,” the brief asserts.
The brief further notes that administrative rules in the state have to be “published in official registers” following “public hearings, written input, and a series of complicated bureaucratic checks before being implemented to make sure that the agency is acting within limits of its authority as a statutory entity and in a fair way.”
The brief raises two legal issues to the Wisconsin Supreme Court: whether state laws governing methods for the delivery of absentee votes mean what they state or if the WEC is able to ignore the statutes and devise its own system for ballot delivery.
The GOP groups insist that the statute must be interpreted in the same way as it was written and that the new ways of delivery formulated by the WEC surpass the commission's statutory powers as well as being in violation of the separation of powers and are procedurally incongruous according to the state's rule-making procedure.
“As the circuit court correctly held, WEC has unilaterally created new methods of delivery of a completed absentee ballot–methods that have no trace in the Wisconsin Statutes–despite almost simultaneously publishing contradictory information to the public on the very same topic,” the complaint claims. “In doing so, WEC has embraced and promoted violations of Wisconsin election laws, created significant confusion about the absentee ballot voting process, and has usurped a core legislative function, or at the very least, failed to follow mandatory rule-making procedures. The circuit court should be affirmed.”
(The case is Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 2022AP91, before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.)