Thursday, November 12, 2020

Denying the Will of Wisconsin Voters is Nothing New for GOP Rep. Sanfelippo

REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLYMAN JOE SANFELIPPO made headlines this week after his comments set off concerns that he and other legislative Republicans in the state might try to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters.

President Donald Trump lost the state in the 2020 election last week to now-President-elect Joe Biden. Republicans across the country are considerably upset about this — so much so that they appear willing to defy our nation's norms, as Trump has done, and refuse to accept Biden as the next president.

Sanfelippo looks to be a lawmaker willing to take this defiance to the extremes. Discussing the matter on Monday, he made the wild suggestion that, if voting irregularities could be found, the state's electors in the Electoral College ought to be allowed to vote against how Wisconsinites voted in the presidential election.

"If an investigation shows these actions affected the outcome of the election, we need to either declare this past election null and void and hold a new election or require our Electoral College Delegates to correct the injustice with their votes," the Republican lawmaker said.

No such evidence of malfeasance exists in the state (nor across the nation, for that matter). But what's troubling is that Sanfelippo believes that there is...and that may mean he could push for disregarding the will of the voters, whether extensive fraud exists for real or not.

Via Wisconsin Examiner:

[Sanfelippo] claimed — without providing evidence —  that there was insufficient voter purging by the Wisconsin Elections Commission and that clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties "colluded" to keep unverified names on voter lists and began voting too early. Those allegations were "just the beginning" Sanfelippo said.


There have been no reports of “irregularities” in Wisconsin’s presidential election Elections Commission’s administrator Meagan Wolfe has repeatedly told reporters. After Election Day she said during a press conference, “I think that it’s insulting to our local election officials to say that yesterday’s election was anything but an incredible success that was the result of years of preparation and meticulously carefully following the law.”

Comments like Sanfelippo's should have every Wisconsin voter worried. 

Imagine a scenario like this: an "investigation" into the elections finds no fraud, or maybe a few small instances of individuals voting in questionable ways. But Republicans, hellbent on disrupting the will of the people, decide to act anyway, giving electors in the Electoral College permission — or perhaps, instruction — to vote for Trump if they want.

It sounds outlandish and impossible to happen. But given this legislature's shenanigans in tearing apart Gov. Tony Evers's powers as governor in the last minutes before he assumed office, nothing would surprise me these days regarding the morals of the current incarnation of the state's Republican Party.

Interestingly, Sanfelippo is not unfamiliar with trying to thwart the will of the people or undermining the democratic process in Wisconsin. In 2015, he proposed a change to the state constitution, in order to remove the right of voters to elect the head of the Department of Public Instruction — which at the time, was Evers himself, who was the only Democratic official (besides Sec. of State Doug La Follette) in state executive branch government.

From Political Heat, September 2015:

Sanfelippo seems concerned about just who is in charge of the DPI, citing that all-to-common (but rarely delved into) talking point Republicans love the most -- special interests (PDF).

“The students of our state should not be held hostage just because special interest groups can get someone without the proper qualifications to win a popularity contest every four years,” Sanfelippo said in a recent press release. “Our children and teachers deserve much better.”

Sanfelippo's worries were hypocritical, I pointed out then, as other statewide offices (conveniently held by Republicans) didn't seem to bother him...

Why doesn’t he seem concerned about the office of Attorney General, which has no requirements or qualifications either? Or for that matter, where is Sanfelippo's call to have special interests stay out of the election for governor itself?

"It seems pretty clear, even if they’re not saying it out loud, that Republicans are pushing this idea to change the DPI on a partisan basis rather than a necessary one," I concluded.

Five years on, and it's clear that very little has changed for Sanfelippo. He still appears willing to disrupt the will of Wisconsin voters. He and the rest of his party should be ashamed.

Featured image credit: Vijay Kumar Koulampet/Wikimedia

No comments:

Post a Comment