Common Council Narrowly Confirms Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director

Jul 8, 2020

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council narrowly confirmed the appointment of Claire Woodall-Vogg as the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission.

After an hour-long discussion, Woodall-Vogg was approved in a vote of 8 to 7. Woodall-Vogg’s appointment comes with a bit of urgency as the Aug. 11 partisan primary draws near.

The job was open because former Executive Director Neil Albrecht announced plans to retire. Mayor Tom Barrett appointed Woodall-Vogg to take Albrecht’s place.

Last month she withdrew from consideration after council members delayed a vote on her nomination. Woodall-Vogg said there was too much political conflict to effectively perform her duties. But she later changed her mind and asked to be considered.

On Tuesday, some council members argued they haven’t had the chance to fully vet her or the methods she’ll use to run the commission. They said they weren’t sure she will properly serve Black and brown communities.

There was a call to send her appointment back to the committee, but it failed.

Alderman Bob Bauman argued the vote shouldn’t be put off any longer.

"If she's not confirmed at some point, that puts us in the September for finding a replacement,” says Bauman.

Although Woodall-Vogg was confirmed with the narrowest of margins, the Common Council did agree unanimously on some decisions Tuesday.

Members voted to urge the Fire and Police Commission to ban police use of chokeholds and strangleholds. The measure passed in honor of Joel Acevedo who died after he was placed in such a hold by an off-duty Milwaukee police officer.

Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa gave remarks on the resolution the council voted on:

"Whereas on the morning of April 19, Joel Acevedo begged for his life, while an off duty officer held him in a rear naked chokehold, and Acevdeo called out, 'Let me go home.' And whereas on April 25, 2020, Joel Acevedo died after he was put in a chokehold by a current Milwaukee police officer. We must pass this."

The Common Council also passed a resolution urging the Fire and Police Commission to adopt a rule requiring officers to report when they draw a gun, mace, or stun gun on duty.