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HomeBreaking NewsDid Milwaukee Election Officials Unfairly Reject Conservative's Nomination Papers?

Did Milwaukee Election Officials Unfairly Reject Conservative’s Nomination Papers?


Hendricks Reaves is running for Milwaukee public school board District #1.

Pro-school choice Milwaukee Public Schools Board candidate Shandowlyon Hendricks Reaves is fighting back against what she believes is an unfair and politically biased effort by Milwaukee elections officials to kick her off the ballot even though they admit she collected more than the necessary 400 valid signatures.

Update: After Wisconsin Right Now’s story, Milwaukee election officials decided to reverse course and allow Hendricks to be placed on the ballot.

They are claiming that they only count signatures up to the first 800 because the Wisconsin Election Commission guidance says not to count any above and beyond that, but Hendricks Reaves says that a recent WEC memo backs her up, and we have confirmed that.

Shandowlyon hendricks reaves
Shandowlyon hendricks reaves

There is a meeting on the matter on January 9, 2023, in Milwaukee. Hendricks Reaves is a former state Superintendent candidate who is running on a conservative platform of a students’ bill of rights as well as focus on the basics.

In an interview with Wisconsin Right Now, Hendricks Reaves explained that she had submitted 946 signatures on June 3. Only 400 valid signatures are needed.

She said that Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg said that 407 of the 946 were valid, but that “they only count the first 800 signatures,” even though she turned all of the signatures in at once.

Hendricks Reaves said that state statutes say nothing “about counting up to 800.” She said she reached out to Woodall-Vogg and asked her for her policy on what is called “supplemental signatures.”

“She said we have no policy; we follow the Wisconsin Election Commission.”

According to Hendricks Reaves, she then contacted WEC and asked what the policy was and “they said they count the first 800. But if they don’t reach the threshold of valid signatures, they will go and look at the supplemental to see if there are enough valid signatures in those additional ones, but they don’t just stop at 800 and refuse to review the other ones.”

She asked for the policy in writing and was sent a memo written by Meagan Wolfe in 2020 that “clearly says if a candidate doesn’t meet the threshold, you are to look at the supplemental signatures.”

Henricks-Reaves said that language on the Wisconsin Election Commission website also explains that candidates can turn in more than 800, they will set aside signatures in excess of that and only count them if a candidate has not made the threshold in the first 800.

She also read the WEC candidate procedures, which said candidates should collect well over the minimum number needed so they have a buffer.

The signatures that were thrown out were from people outside the district, she said.

“This is purposeful so it angers me,” she said. Of Wooddall-Vogg, Hendricks Reaves said, “Who is pulling your strings and you and that person need to be gone.”

“I’m not a person who looks at a glass that is half empty or likes to take a victim stance,” she stressed. “It disturbs me this is happening, I pride myself on reading and following directions.”

She said Democratic candidates had reached out to her and said that the same thing has happened to them and the signatures were counted.

“This is unfair. This shouldn’t happen,” Hendricks Reaves said.

She said she also questioned 25 signatures that were ruled out and Woodall-Vogg “cured 17 more.”

“I summoned the courage to run for school board. I became an educator because of my son with disabilities,” she said. “This is just beyond. How can you be that incompetent?”

She could have gone through the list and blacked out the ones that were out of district and then they would have been counted, but she said there is no guidance to tell her to do that so she didn’t know other candidates do that.

We have confirmed that there is no state law specifically on the question of supplemental signatures and no law that says more than 800 can not be submitted.

A June 3, 2022, Wisconsin Elections Commission article called “Wisconsin Elections Commission: Frequently asked questions regarding nomination papers” addresses the question.

Does the Wisconsin Elections Commission factor in supplemental signatures that a candidate may have turned in?

If the number of valid signatures WEC staff recommend for a candidate is above the minimum threshold for that race upon reviewing the candidate’s initial filing staff do not perform review on any supplemental signatures the candidate may have filed with us.

However, if the number of signatures WEC staff recommend is below the minimum threshold for the office, staff proceed to review supplemental signatures if a candidate filed them with the agency. If a candidate dropped below the threshold during staff review and did provide supplemental signatures, supplemental signatures reviewed by staff would be included in the total valid signatures number listed on the “Nomination Paper Tracking Report” and “Candidate Tracking By Office” documents, although the documents would not specifically indicate whether the total does or does not include supplemental signatures.

If staff approve a number of valid signatures for a candidate over the minimum threshold, but a challenge is filed that would reduce the number of valid signatures below the minimum threshold, staff then review supplemental signatures and present the number of valid signatures to the Commission for consideration. These supplemental signatures would not appear in the “Nomination Paper Tracking Report” or the “Candidate Tracking By Office” report.

A list of candidates who provided supplemental signatures can be found among the attachments on our “Fall 2022 General Election” page.

In a WEC memorandum from Administrator Meagan Wolfe, Wolfe specifically addressed if each candidate had supplemental signatures for each challenge, and in one challenge said,

“Supplemental signatures are only processed if a candidate’s initial submission of nomination papers results in a number of valid signatures which is below the minimum to qualify for ballot access.”

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The WEC website has an article discussing items candidates should consider, one of those being, “Signatures over the maximum number allowable should be separated and marked as ‘supplemental.'”

WRN asked Claire Woodall-Vogg for comment and we will include her response if she responds.


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