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Since 2020, Republicans in at least 27 states have outlawed or banned private election funding Photo: Reuters

A constitutional amendment introduced Tuesday by Republicans in response to grants received in 2020 would ban private funding for elections in Wisconsin after voters approved it, which was funded by donations from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. I went.

Voters also approved a second question placed on the ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature, which amends the Constitution to say only election officials can administer elections. It’s already state law, but putting it in the Constitution makes it more difficult to repeal or change.

Democrats opposed both measures, arguing they would make it more difficult to hold elections in presidential battleground states.

Both constitutional amendments on the ballot were in response to a grant of money that came to Wisconsin in 2020 from the Center for Tech & Civic Life, a liberal group that fights for voter access. That year it received a $300 million donation from Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to help election officials purchase supplies and run elections at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic before vaccines were available.

The state’s five largest cities, all of which President Joe Biden won, received $8.8 million. They were among nearly 200 Wisconsin communities that received nearly $10 million as part of $350 million awarded nationally.

Republicans, who dubbed the money Zuckerbucks, complained that large amounts of money went to Democratic strongholds and claimed it was an effort by billionaires to sway votes in favor of Democrats. The argument comes amid false claims by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that widespread voter fraud led to Biden’s 2020 victory.

Since 2020, Republicans in at least 27 states have outlawed or restricted private election funding.

Wisconsin’s measures were supported by Republican and conservative groups, including the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Election Integrity for Wisconsin. Several government watchdogs and liberal groups are opposing him, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservation Voters and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Not a single Democratic lawmaker voted for the amendment, which was split between two questions on the ballot. Opponents of the amendments worry that it could lead to efforts to suppress existing practices that increase voter participation.

Three courts and the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission rejected complaints challenging the legality of the grant money.

Republicans, who control the legislature, introduced a constitutional amendment to circumvent Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who almost certainly would have vetoed the measures. The amendments are not subject to the approval of the Governor.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin voters have approved 148 of the first 200 proposed constitutional amendments since the state constitution was adopted in 1848.

(Only the headline and image in this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

first published: 03 April 2024 | 8:32 am First

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