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Wisconsin Voters Approve Bans on Private Aid for Election Offices

U.S.Wisconsin Voters Approve Bans on Private Aid for Election Offices

Voters in Wisconsin approved adding language to the State Constitution on Tuesday that will forbid officials from accepting donations of money or staffing to help run elections, The Associated Press said.

The questions were placed on the state’s primary ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature. They were rooted in complaints raised about the 2020 election, including objections to donations that a group supported by the billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, made to local election offices, as well as assistance given to election administrators by nonprofit groups. The donations could be used to defray any of a wide variety of costs, like polling-place rental fees, drive-through voting sites or training for poll workers.

Mr. Zuckerberg has said he no longer planned to award grants to election offices.

President Biden narrowly won Wisconsin in 2020, a result that some Republicans tried and failed to overturn afterward. Voters in the state, which Donald J. Trump carried in 2016, tend to split about evenly between the two major parties, and the state could be decisive in this year’s presidential race. Republicans have argued that funding for running elections should be provided solely by the government and should be allocated equitably to all jurisdictions.

Opponents of the ballot question concerning outside staffing for election offices said Wisconsin law already made clear who could or could not work as an election official, and that passing the amendment could have unintended consequences.

By opting for a statewide vote on the proposed election limits, Wisconsin Republicans were able to maneuver around Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who vetoed a bill in 2021 that would have banned private grants for elections.

“Regardless of the source of additional funding for election administration, election administrators must always run elections according to state and federal law,” Mr. Evers said in his veto message.


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