Wisconsin voters pass constitutional amendments

In addition to municipal races, Wisconsin voters had two referendums on the Spring Election ballot. Both are constitutional amendments, and both relate to election processes.

The two questions have passed.

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?”

The background for Question 1 refers to a large donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife in 2020. The couple donated $350 million to a non-profit, who shared that money with various municipalities across Wisconsin and was used for things like: poll worker recruitment, polling place rentals, temporary staffing support, drive-through voting, PPE for poll workers, etc.

A “yes” vote for Question 1 creates a constitutional amendment that bans the use of funds donated by a private source for future election.

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?”

Wisconsin State statutes already require extensive requirements for election officials, or “poll workers.” That list of people includes: chief election inspectors, election inspectors, greeters, tabulators, election registration officials, and special voting deputies. Requirements include: election officials must be approved by the municipality from a list of nominees submitted by the two major political parties, must read and write English, must be qualified to vote in the county they are “working” in, they cannot be candidates on the ballot, and cannot be immediately related to anyone on the ballot.

A “yes” vote for Question 2 restricts election-related tasks to only election officials. Although, because Wisconsin statues already imply these requirements, it’s currently unclear how a chance to the State’s constitution would enhance Wisconsin election laws.