Fri. May 24th, 2024

Milwaukee removes elections chief in unexpected battleground-state shakeup

By 37ci3 May7,2024

Milwaukee County’s top election official was ousted Monday in an unexpected shake-up in Wisconsin’s most populous county, a battleground state six months before Election Day.

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said Monday that he will replace Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall with her deputy, Paulina Gutierrez, citing “internal” issues within the commission. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported first News of Woodall’s ouster.

Johnson’s spokesman, Jeff Fleming, said in a statement that the move was not related to Woodall’s or his office’s oversight of elections, but was the result of “other issues of concern within the election commissioner’s office and city government.” When asked about Gutierrez’s appointment, the nature of the matter was not disclosed, subject to approval by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The unexpected move comes just over six months after a presidential election in which a small handful of states, including Wisconsin, are expected to decide.

Wisconsin’s last two presidential elections were each decided by less than 23,000 votes. And Milwaukee – a Democratic stronghold Trump’s allies falsely described the slow count In 2020, the issue of postal ballots – a sign of fraud – was at the center of drama in both elections.

Claire Woodall-Vogg speaks
Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall at a news conference on November 8, 2022 in Milwaukee.Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA Today Network file

There is Wisconsin is already behind In 2020, it is behind other swing states in strengthening electoral policies after chaos. Election workers and supervisors in the state testified is disturbing The same loopholes that Trump’s allies used to overturn the election results that year still exist in Wisconsin.

Woodall is leaving just two months after a grand jury found her former deputy, Kimberly Zapata. is found guilty of exceeding his duties and election fraud charges related to obtaining fraudulent ballots.

Zapata claimed he was trying to expose weaknesses in the Wisconsin election. He was was convicted probation last week and a $3,000 fine.

Woodall’s termination also underscores the widespread problem of election worker turnover, which has reached a historic high in the run-up to this year’s election. according to the data NBC News obtained it last month.

Information It found that turnover at local election offices has been increasing for years, suggesting that the issue is moving beyond post-2020 threats.

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By 37ci3

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