Wisconsinites to Decide on Election Integrity Measures During Primary

Wisconsinites to Decide on Election Integrity Measures During Primary
"I Voted" stickers are seen at a polling place at the Weisman Art Museum during the presidential primary in Minneapolis, Minn., on Super Tuesday, on March 5, 2024. (Stephen Maturen/AFP via Getty Images)

During the April 2 Wisconsin primary, voters will decide on two Constitutional amendments backed by many Republicans and conservatives and opposed by many Democrats and liberals.

The first question asks voters whether the state should keep private money out of election administration, asking the voter to decide on amending the state Constitution “to provide that private donations and grants may not be applied for, accepted, expended, or used in connection with the conduct of any primary, election, or referendum.”

The second would change the state Constitution to ensure that “only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums.”

The state GOP wants Wisconsinites to vote “Yes” on both measures, which were supported by party members of Wisconsin’s Republican-dominated assembly and senate.

“For years, out-of-state private interests have interfered in our elections and unfairly tipped the scales against conservatives by pumping money into election offices,” Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.) said in a pre-primary video message released by the Wisconsin GOP on X, formerly Twitter.

The concern ahead of November’s election stems in part from the widespread use of private out-of-state money during the 2020 presidential contest, particularly money from Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation. That organization donated more than $400 million “to supporting election infrastructure” in jurisdictions across the country that year.

An analysis from the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank, found that more than $10 million of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s funding went to Wisconsin, a key swing state. The overwhelming majority of that ended up in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha—the state’s five largest cities.

“These cities have traditionally been considered Democrat strongholds, resulting in more than 80 percent of the state’s Zuckerbucks flowing into heavily concentrated Democrat areas—with Biden winning by an average margin of victory of 37 points,” the foundation wrote.

The National Conference on State Legislatures, a non-partisan organization, notes that private funding in elections is now restricted in various ways across 27 U.S. states, largely due to concerns after the 2020 election.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party opposes both amendments.

“Seizing on Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, Republican politicians in Madison are pushing a vaguely worded, bad-faith constitutional amendment to meddle in election administration and leave local governments with fewer resources to keep polling places open,” Ben Wikler, the chair of the party, said in an announcement articulating local Democrats’ position on the measures.

“Thanks to long-standing Wisconsin law and the dedicated service of thousands of elections officials in municipalities across the state, our elections are safe and secure,” he added.

Erin Geiger Smith of the State Court Report, a project of the liberal Brennan Center, has voiced opposition to the proposed constitutional amendments.

“The consensus across parties is that the government fully funding election administration is ideal. But underfunding is a chronic condition of American elections, as costs for modern necessities, including cybersecurity and updated voting machines, regularly outstrip public funding,” she wrote. The utility of digitized voting has been met with challenges given the security risks posed, with some calling for a return to hand-counted ballots.

Former President Donald J. Trump will be in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the evening of April 2, building momentum with his base in a critical Upper Midwestern swing state.

Ballots for the Spring Election and Presidential Preference Vote will let voters choose either a Republican or Democratic presidential candidate. Their votes won’t count if they select both a Republican presidential hopeful and a Democratic presidential hopeful.

Democrats and Republicans will have the option of selecting “uninstructed delegation” instead of a presidential candidate. Insiders will be looking for a strong “uninstructed delegation” turnout on the Democratic side as a protest against the Biden administration’s policies on Israel.

More local issues and offices, including school board seats, school funding referendums, and local judges, will be decided by voters in jurisdictions across America’s Dairyland.

From The Epoch Times

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