Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Wisconsin voters to decide on GOP-backed ballot measures that would affect how elections are run

By 37ci3 Apr2,2024



Wisconsin voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide two low-profile but controversial Republican-backed constitutional amendments that would change how elections are conducted in a key battleground state.

The measure, often mocked by conservatives as “Zuckerbucks,” bans the use of private funds in election administration, and another seeks to clarify the role of the election worker.

Opponents argue that the measures are the result of baseless conspiracy theories following Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, and that passage of either or both of them would create obstacles to the smooth running of this fall’s elections, as Wisconsin is a primary for president and U.S. Senate. will host the competitions. .

After the 2020 election, Donald Trump and his allies falsely claimed that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg donated millions of dollars to groups that helped campaign administration offices. It was Zuckerberg’s front to help Biden win the election. In fact, money from a group he funded was used to hire more poll workers in densely populated areas and buy protective gear to prevent people from contracting Covid.

Critics of a ballot measure banning the use of personal funds in the election office say those false claims are the reason Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin placed the measure on the ballot Tuesday.

Wisconsin is one of the few states where lawmakers refer proposed constitutional changes to the ballot for voters to decide. In other states, voters can try to place such measures directly on the ballot through signature-gathering processes.

Supporters say the measures will effectively ban “dark money” from elections.

A second question on Tuesday’s Wisconsin ballot will ask voters to decide whether “only election officials appointed by law may perform duties in the conduct of primaries, elections and referenda.” Opponents say Wisconsin law already clearly defines who qualifies as an “election official” and the amendment would unnecessarily narrow the number of people who qualify, while supporters argue the law would help clarify and simplify election administration.

“Both of these are measures passed by the Republican majority in the Legislature and vetoed by the governor. So that’s what they’re doing now. This is their last run,” he said. “They put it on the ballot as a harmless question.”

Heck called the measures “a product of an election denial effort” that, if passed, would hamper the efforts of officials across the state to conduct smooth elections.

After Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed attempts to pass legislation to achieve the same results, Republicans in the Legislature took the measures directly to voters.

In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers from both Wisconsin and elsewhere have been pushing voters to pass them.

Office of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis participated in an attempt to deliver fake voter materials On January 6, 2021, he urged Wisconsinites to vote yes on both questions to Vice President Mike Pence. in a video It announced last week that it would “ban Zuckerberg.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a Trump ally who has raised false allegations of widespread fraud during the 2020 election, also urged voters to support the proposals in a video released last week.

“Safe elections require proper election management. That’s why I urge everyone in Wisconsin to vote yes on Amendments 1 and 2,” said R-Wis. video.

The Wisconsin GOP officially supports both proposals, while the state’s Democratic Party is urging voters to oppose both.

“Using Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, Republican politicians in Madison are pushing a vaguely worded, malicious constitutional amendment to interfere with election administration and leave local governments with fewer resources to keep polls open. “Rather than making sure our secretaries have the resources to hold elections, Republicans are resorting to nonsense to please Donald Trump,” said Democratic State Chairman Ben Wikler.

During the 2020 election in the heart of the Covid pandemic, a group called the Center for Technology and Civic Life, a nonpartisan organization funded largely by grants from Zuckerberg and his wife, gave $10 million to Wisconsin officials to help get out the vote. buy personal protective equipment to protect workers and people from getting sick.

Many Republicans in the US falsely claimed that the money helped boost Democratic turnout in 2020, resulting in Biden taking the state back from Trump, who won it in 2016.

Conservative efforts are also underway in Arizona to put a measure on the ballot this year that would amend the state’s mail-in voting system and Nevada’s constitution to include voter ID requirements for voting.

If Wisconsin’s measures pass on Tuesday, the state will join more than two dozen others that have taken similar actions since 2020, fueled by Zuckerberg’s conspiracy theory.

according to National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 27 states have taken action to “prohibit, restrict, or regulate the use of private or philanthropic financing to conduct elections” since the 2020 election. It adopted 11 laws in 2021, 13 in 2022, and three in 2023.

Wisconsin was among five states where Democratic governors vetoed such measures. In Wisconsin, it prompted the GOP-controlled Legislature to take the same measures directly to voters.

“These voter measures are part of a growing trend by the opposition to manipulate and undermine the people’s instrument of direct democracy and purposefully confuse voters about the intent of a measure,” said Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, executive director of Ballot Initiative Strategy. The Center, which works with progressive organizations to help advance citizen-driven election initiatives.

“As we head into 2024, we can expect to see an increase in these types of fraudulent ballot measures led by conservative lawmakers,” he said.





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