Wisconsin elections panel keeps Michels on governor’s ballot

Democrats argued nomination papers with thousands of signatures used an invalid address.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 4:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin elections officials say Donald Trump’s pick for governor can stay on the ballot, despite questions over the required paperwork he submitted to be allowed to run.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted unanimously on Friday to allow construction company co-owner Tim Michels to appear on the ballot for the Aug. 9 primary, even though the campaign made a rather glaring mistake on the paperwork to collect signatures.

According to the complaint filed by Democrats, Michels left off some address information required by the state Legislature. This included using the village of Chenequa as his mailing address instead of Hartland and leaving off the state and ZIP Code information.

“That is not deliverable mail,” Jeff Mandell, an attorney for the complainants, said. “It may have been in the days of the Pony Express that you could say I’m sending something to my friend at this street address in this village and it would get there, but in the 21st Century post office that doesn’t work.”

Democrats told the commission at a meeting Friday this would prevent Michels from being able to receive mail and, by law, should strike down a majority of the 3,800 signatures that were collected -- only a few hundred valid signatures would remain.

An attorney for the Michels campaign said the paperwork did contain an address for the Milwaukee campaign office, where Michels could be reached, and that even with the oversight mail would still be received at the Chenequa address.

“To say that the people who signed these nomination papers believe that Mr. Michels’s address is somewhere other than the state of Wisconsin is not credible,” Matthew Fernholz, the attorney representing the Michels campaign, said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is bipartisan, and even the Democrats on the panel voted in favor of keeping Michels on the ballot.

“There’s no reason to keep him off. I think people would get very very upset. I think we would get reversed immediately,” WEC member Mark Thomsen said.

“Keeping someone off the ballot is a serious matter, and generally speaking the voters should largely decide,” Ann Jacobs, the chair of the committee, said.

Michels issued a statement after the decision:

Eleven candidates were put before the Wisconsin Elections Commission Friday with objections over signatures on their nomination papers. Michels was the most prominent.

Trump endorsed Michels over three other Republican candidates seeking to oust Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in the presidential battleground state.

Democrats argued a rather glaring error on his address on the nomination papers should disqualify most of the signatures

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.