Wisconsin: “Senate votes to force out state Ethics and Elections leaders”

Bad news for fair and impartial elections, but entirely expected:

State Senate Republicans have voted on party lines to reject confirmation of the state’s top ethics and elections officials — which Republicans said will effectively fire them, and Democrats decried as political score-settling that will hamper oversight of elections and public officials.

The move defies the bipartisan commissions that hired Ethics Commission Administrator Brian Bell and Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas in 2016 and has supported them since.

Senators voted 18-13, with all Republicans supporting and all Democrats opposed, to reject Bell’s confirmation Tuesday. The vote to reject Haas’ confirmation was 18-12, also on party lines.

It also raises the possibility of a court battle over their administrators’ futures. Civic groups including Common Cause of Wisconsin and ACLU of Wisconsin have said they may challenge lawmakers’ authority to oust the administrators in defiance of the commissions.

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