During the 2020 election, Green Bay, Wisconsin, received 1.6 million in private funding from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a private, left-leaning organization funded by a cabal of billionaire ideologues. Like other large Democrat-leaning cities across America, Green Bay – with a population of 106,095, was funded by these billionaires who sought to use traditionally non-partisan election offices as Get Out the Vote machines for Democrat candidates.

In Green Bay, the City Clerk quit out of frustration and the CTCL dispatched Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein to personally take over the elections office and administer the 2020 election in direct violation of Wisconsin law. Spitzer-Rubenstein was given access to absentee ballots prior to the election and was put in charge of key aspects of election administration, such as chain of custody.

The unprecedented effort by political opportunists to co-opt election offices and ramp up Democrat turnout paid off. Donald Trump lost the State of Wisconsin by just 20,000  votes to Joe Biden in 2020.Since the 2020 election, twenty-seven states passed laws banning the private funding of elections.

This commonsense legislation is an attempt to return election offices to the neutral arbiter of the electoral process – not key players with a partisan agenda. On the April Primary Election ballot last Tuesday, Wisconsin voters agreed. Wisconsin voters considered two questions to amend the Wisconsin Constitution and adopted both with more than 50% of the vote.

Question One prohibits any level of government in the state from applying or accepting non-governmental funds or equipment for election administration. Question Two provides that only election officials designated by law may administer elections, barring outside groups from embedding non-governmental officials in election administration and operations.

It should not be lost on political observers the totality of this election. Many voters were concerned about why the constitutional amendments were required, however, in a state where the Governor vetoes all efforts to protect elections from external money and influence, the voters are left with few options. Any election in which a question, if approved, will be added to the state constitution, is monumental in and of itself. But we must not forget that victory was achieved thanks to voters across the political spectrum.

When Donald Trump carried the state in 2016 and President Biden clawed it back in 2020 both victories separated the winner and loser by less than two percentage points. In the referendum election, the two common sense measures dominated by capturing more than half of the electorate. Even counties that traditionally had been in the blue column flipped in favor of the election integrity referendum. Portage County for instance, voted 57 to 43% in favor of Question Two. The county also passed Question One, albeit by a slightly smaller margin. Nevertheless, this exact same county voted for President Biden, giving him 50% of the vote in 2020.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Election Protection Project (EPP) was proud to work collaboratively with the Election Integrity Network and the McIver Institute in organizing conservative groups and building a Wisconsin coalition to raise awareness and get these questions passed. Grassroots conservative leaders met weekly by video call to plan and coordinate the efforts of their respective groups. There’s an old saying that important work gets done when nobody cares who takes credit. These conservative groups have embodied that credo for the past month and got the questions passed. This effort will be a model for successful advocacy to improve the integrity of our elections around the country.

Congratulations to Wisconsinites for joining the 27 other states who have approved measures to ensure integrity and keep private funding out of the administration of elections. In the lead up to the 2024 presidential election, all states must pass similar legislation and or constitutional amendments to guarantee the administration of what is likely going to be the most consequential election of our lifetime, is free of partisan influence. As conversations regarding the role of federal regulations in our elections heats up in Washington, the question of not how to meticulously run elections, but who can fund elections themselves is undoubtedly a conversation that needs to be had in the halls of Congress.