Elections Commission Used Games of Chance to Determine Chair

When the Wisconsin Elections Commission was formed from the ashes of the old Government Accountability Board, voters had good reason to hope for significant change in the way state elections were overseen. Unfortunately for the residents of Wisconsin, the framework for the establishment of the new commission has made a mockery of deliberative processes.

When the Elections Commission, which is comprised of two members selected by the majority party, two selected by the minority party, and two selected by the Governor, first convened on June 30th of this year, their first order of business was to decide which party would have first crack at chairing the new commission. According to Wis. Stat. 5.06(2)(b)1, “The major political party from which to select the first chairperson shall be determined by lot.”

Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas was more than up to the task as he brought “a variety of games of chance” including dice, a deck of cards, poker chips, and of course the good old standard: drawing party names out of a Wisconsin Badgers mug.

The commission members settled on using the Wisconsin Badgers mug with party names on sheets of paper as the preferred game of chance. The resulting draw led to the Democrats having the first opportunity to chair the newly created commission.

Media Trackers has previously pointed out that the staff for the new Ethics commission was almost exclusively drawn from the old GAB ethics board. The Ethics Commission used the same method to elect disgraced former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager as their chairperson. It appears that despite the appearance of true reform, the new Elections and Ethics commissions have left significant details up to “chance.”