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Wisconsin Voters Hand "Zuckerbucks" a Blow in the Elections

The Elections

By SamarPublished 14 days ago 4 min read
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On January 31, 2024, in Washington, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Meta, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

GREEN BAY, WisconsinIn Wisconsin's April 2 primary, voters have cast their votes for two election initiatives that the state's Republicans and former President Donald J. Trump supported.

Following the 2020 presidential election, which saw large contributions from tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg both within and outside of the state, many Republican voters and elected officials expressed concern about the use of private money in elections. Wisconsinites responded favorably to the measure prohibiting it. The liberal donor's contributions are frequently referred to by conservatives as "Zuckerbucks."

The proposal would amend the constitution specifically to "prohibit the application, acceptance, expenditure, or use of private donations and grants in connection with the conduct of any primary, election, or referendum."

A related measure restricting the choice of election staff for primaries, referenda, and elections to "only election officials designated by law" was approved by voters.

At his rally in Green Bay on April 2, President Trump urged his supporters to vote yes on both, in response to events that same day in Michigan.

At 8:41 p.m. local time, the Associated Press announced the results of question 2, which concerned election workers. 56 percent of voters supported the proposal as of 9:01 p.m., when 45 percent of the votes had been counted.

At 8:45 p.m. local time, it then announced the results of question 1, which dealt with election funding. 53.2 percent of the vote was in favor of the proposal as of 9:02 p.m., when 48 percent of the votes had been counted.

The widespread use of outside funds from private sources during the 2020 presidential contest—most notably funds from Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg's foundation—is one of the main causes for concern ahead of November's election. In that year, the organization gave more than $400 million "to support election infrastructure" in various states.

Wisconsin is a crucial swing state that received more than $10 million of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's funding, according to an analysis by the conservative think tank Foundation for Government Accountability. The five biggest cities in the state—Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha—received an overwhelming majority of that.

The foundation stated that since these cities have historically been seen as Democratic strongholds, over 80% of the state's Zuckerbucks have gone into highly concentrated Democrat areas, with Biden winning by an average margin of victory of 37 points.

Concerns following the 2020 election have led to various restrictions on private funding of elections in 27 U.S. states, according to the nonpartisan National Conference on State Legislatures.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who also joined President Trump at his rally in Green Bay, were among the proponents of the referenda.

In essence, these will outlaw Zuckerbucks. We must take that action,” Mr. Johnson instructed voters in a video message posted on X, the former Twitter platform on the process of voting.

In Wisconsin, Democrats have generally been against the referenda. One of those opponents is 15th District state senator Mark Spreitzer.

The lawmaker explained his position in a thread on X, saying, "They [the questions] stem from conspiracy theories around the 2020 election."

"It's a fact that [Wisconsin] hasn't done enough to pay for local governments' election expenses—so denying clerks grants or donations will have a significant detrimental effect,” he said.

Support for the proposals was expressed by attendees at the Trump rally in Green Bay.

Standing with several other men from Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapters, Steven Levine is a Florence, Wisconsin, Navy veteran who did not cast a ballot in the primary.

Regarding the constitutional amendments, he told The Epoch Times, "I would have voted yes for both of those." "I am really sorry that I chose not to cast my ballot. There's no justification.

Wisconsin veteran Richard Verheyen dismissed Democratic opposition to the amendments, arguing that without private funding, elections would be underfunded.

He told The Epoch Times, "That's B.S." "Anybody with money can appoint anyone to any office they choose."

"Take a look at our national budget and the amount of money we send to other countries. America ought to pay for its own elections. To do that, we don't require billionaires. Jose Diaz, a Trump supporter from Green Bay, Wisconsin, told The Epoch Times, "That's why we pay our taxes."

Both he and the person seated next to him, Jeff McDonald of Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, voted in favor of both measures.

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