Earning national recognition during the 2021 Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, Judge Schroeder has become known for his straightforward approach.
The head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), Meagan Wolfe, faced scrutiny from the judge for attempts by defense attorneys to justify redactions in WEC's agendas and meeting minutes related to the MyVote absentee ballot application process. The defense invoked attorney-client privilege, leading Judge Schroeder to express disbelief, questioning the need for such "cloak-and-dagger stuff."
Reflecting on his childhood, the judge reminisced about the commitment of Wisconsin election officials to transparency and security, contrasting it with the current situation. He criticized WEC and Attorney General Kaul, highlighting the irony of a governmental body claiming privilege for information advised by a partisan directly influenced by election outcomes.
In a ruling favoring plaintiff Jay Stone, Judge Schroeder ordered WEC to conform its conduct to legal requirements, refraining from judicial micro-management but leaving it to WEC to align with state law. Despite not immediately halting the absentee ballot application process, the judge's order emphasized WEC's obligation to adhere to the law.
Stone's Call for Statutory Changes and Amendments to Rectify WEC's Practices
Stone, in a Nov. 17 interview, expressed satisfaction with the ruling but expressed disappointment at the absence of an immediate halt to WEC's practices. He emphasized the need for statutory changes and amendments for WEC to rectify the situation.
Stone highlighted WEC's violation of state law, stating that the law mandates voters to request absentee ballots only from their local clerks, with no provision for intermediaries.
Judge Schroeder's Impact on WEC's Legal Standing and Future Lawsuits
Regarding Judge Schroeder's ruling on voter standing and acknowledgment of WEC exceeding state statutes, Stone sees it as foundational, potentially strengthening other pending and future lawsuits against WEC.
Stone, who has additional lawsuits against WEC in progress, cited a commitment to honest government and a desire to honor those exposing security issues with WEC's absentee ballot application system.
Despite Wisconsin courts ruling against WEC multiple times, a WEC spokesperson, in a Nov. 17 email, affirmed that MyVote.wi.gov will remain available for voters, asserting its convenience for voter registration, absentee ballot requests, tracking, and other services as the state heads into the 2024 election cycle.
Judge Schroeder, slated for retirement on Nov. 27, emerged on the national stage in 2021 as the judge overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Known for his candid demeanor, Schroeder has established a reputation for plain-speaking.
In a recent episode, Meagan Wolfe, head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), faced the ire of Schroeder. Defense attorneys for WEC attempted to rationalize redactions in WEC's agendas and meeting minutes related to the MyVote absentee ballot application process. Mr. Stone, seeking evidence that WEC never officially sanctioned the program, obtained these documents. The defense invoked attorney-client privilege to withhold portions of public documents, prompting a bemused response from Schroeder, who questioned the necessity of such "cloak-and-dagger stuff."
Reflecting on his childhood, Schroeder reminisced about the exhaustive efforts of Wisconsin election officials to ensure transparency and security. He shared anecdotes of officials personally checking voter registrations, emphasizing the intent to instill public confidence in the election process. Expressing dismay, Schroeder noted that this commitment to integrity has seemingly crumbled.
Addressing WEC and Attorney General Kaul, Schroeder pointed out the irony of a governmental body claiming privilege for information advised by a partisan with a direct stake in election outcomes. The attorney general's office remained silent in response.
In a ruling favoring Mr. Stone, Schroeder mandated a declaratory judgment commanding WEC to align its conduct with legal requirements, granting summary judgment in favor of the petitioner. However, Schroeder refrained from judicial micro-management, declining to shut down MyVote. He left it to WEC to conform its practices to state law, acknowledging potential litigation if compliance was not ensured.
While Mr. Stone expressed satisfaction with the ruling, he voiced disappointment at the absence of an immediate halt to WEC's absentee ballot application process. Acknowledging the complexities ahead, Stone highlighted the need for statutory changes and amendments.
Despite Wisconsin courts ruling against WEC multiple times, the Wisconsin Elections Commission, in a Nov. 17 email, asserted that MyVote.wi.gov would remain available for voters as the state heads into the 2024 election cycle, presenting it as a convenient tool for various voter services.
In the midst of legal battles and controversies surrounding Wisconsin's electoral processes, the emergence of RethinkGOP.org takes center stage as a potential catalyst for change. As Judge Schroeder, known for his plain-speaking and set to retire on Nov. 27, navigates through the complexities of election-related challenges, the need for a transformative force becomes evident.
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