Wisconsin voters are considering banning private election funding.

Madison— Wisconsin voters were voting on two Republican-backed constitutional amendments on Tuesday, one of which would outlaw private election funding in response to Mark Zuckerberg's 2020 gifts.  

The other idea would limit election administration to lawful officials. That statute is already in place, but adding it to the Wisconsin Constitution would make repeal harder. Democrats rejected both bills, arguing they would make presidential elections in the battleground state harder.  

After two weeks of early, in-person absentee voting, polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Center for Tech and Civic Life, a leftist voter access nonprofit, gave Wisconsin money in 2020, prompting both constitutional revisions. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $300 million to the institute that year to help election officials buy supplies and hold elections during the COVID-19 pandemic before vaccines were available.  

The five largest cities in the state, which President Joe Biden won, earned $8.8 million. Around 200 Wisconsin communities received $10 million of $350 million nationally.  

Republicans who called the money “Zuckerbucks” said the billionaire tried to sway the vote by sending most of it to Democratic strongholds. The argument followed erroneous accusations by former President Donald Trump and his supporters claimed rampant voter fraud helped Biden win 2020.  

At least 27 Republican states have banned private elections grants since 2020. Republicans and conservative groups like Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Election Integrity for Wisconsin support the Wisconsin initiatives. The ACLU, Common Cause Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin oppose them.  

No Democratic lawmaker supported the proposal, which was separated into two ballot issues. Opponents of the amendments think they could hinder voting participation-boosting measures.  

Three courts and the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission rejected grant money legality complaints. Republicans in the Legislature introduced the constitutional amendments to avoid Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who would have vetoed them. Governor permission is not required for amendments.

The independent Legislative Reference Bureau reports that Wisconsin voters have accepted 148 of 200 constitutional changes since 1848.  

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