Wisconsin Republicans Want Voters To Vote Against Democracy

The general spring elections in Wisconsin is on April 8th. The ballots are mostly county and municipal elections such as mayors, common councils, judges and school boards. Oddly, the presidential primaries are also on the ballot.

But the Wisconsin Republicans forced two referendum questions unto this ballot which will harm democracy if passed. The questions are:

QUESTION 1: “Use of private funds in election administration. Shall section 7 (1) of article III of the constitution be created 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?”

QUESTION 2: “Election officials. Shall section 7 (2) of article III of the constitution be created to provide that only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums?”

The first question is in regards to the money that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife had given to help defray the costs of voting. The money went to both blue and red communities. In the deep red Waukesha County, they used the $42,000 they received to help cover the cost of mailing costs, tables and other equipment. Egads! How dare they!

A Republican state senator said the quiet part out loud on why the GOP is so opposed to these grants:

More than 200 communities in Wisconsin got shares of the $10.6 million, and $8.8 million went to Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine and Kenosha — the state’s five largest cities.

“What that does is gins up a turnout effort in a particular place that can put the thumb on the scale for statewide elections or local elections,” said Sen. Eric Wimberger, a Republican from Green Bay, who authored the proposal.

In other words, these “Zuckerbucks,” as the Republicans refer to them, makes it easier for more people to vote. And when more people vote, Republicans lose. It’s no wonder Republicans are opposed to these grants. Without them, the state legislature, which is currently controled by the GOP, are in control of the pursestrings and they can starve democracy all they want, especially in places like Madison and Milwaukee, which have the largest populations of Black people and other minorities.

The second referendum question is mostly just for Republicans to throw red meat to their base. The Republicans are casting doubts on GOTV groups and elections consultants who were hired to look for ways to streamline the elections process. However, the referendum doesn’t add anything new that would necessarily change anything:

Wimberger and other Republicans have argued his [the consultant’s] work amounted to administering an election.

“That sort of thing just is not appropriate,” Wimberger said. “There has to be people who are held to a particular standard by statute running these elections.”

Spreitzer shared an analysis from the Legislature’s nonpartisan attorneys that said the impact of adding the language to the constitution is unclear. State law already says that only appointed election officials can conduct elections, but doesn’t say what activities count as conducting an election. The referendum doesn’t specify that, either.

Wisconsin Republicans have been pushing the Big Lie for the past four years. This is just more of the same for them.

The really ironic part of this whole stunt is that they are doing it in the spring elections. The Republicans put the referendum questions in to boost Republican turnout, but the spring elections traditionally have a higher Republican turnout. Are they that afraid of another blue wave sweeping the state this year, due to things like – checks notes – the whole reproductive care issue? Are they afraid that people are still pissed that Roe vs Wade got turned over. They should be.

But they would have been smarter to have put them in the fall ballot instead, when their own elections are going to be a hella lot more competitive now that the gerrymandering is gone.

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