The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

The upcoming spring election on April 2nd will contain two referendum questions that the legislature passed this session. These would add two amendments to our state constitution. I would like to shed some light on both these questions so you are able to vote with the most information available to you. If the majority of Wisconsinites vote “Yes” on both of these referendums they will both become law.

The first question addresses grants from private entities aiding election administration, also known as “Zuckerbucks”. The amendment prohibits any level of government in the state from applying or accepting non-governmental funds or equipment for election administration.

In recent years, these grants have disproportionately favored blue-leaning large cities like Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine, leaving smaller municipalities disadvantaged and effecting larger turnouts in particular areas of the state. I believe that elections should be run locally and taxpayer-funded, not influenced by unaccountable external entities. The integrity of our government hinges on transparency and fairness, necessitating action to address disproportionate external influence.

Wisconsin isn’t alone in facing this issue. 27 states have acted to curb Zuckerbucks, including Louisiana, which banned it by a 73% to 25% margin through referendum. Democrat-led houses in Pennsylvania and Virginia have also taken steps to ban Zuckerbucks, showing bipartisan recognition of safeguarding the electoral process.

The second question addresses the hiring of partisan “consultants” in assisting in election administration. The referendum provides that only election officials designated by law may administer elections.

The danger of a municipality hiring someone to administer an election that is not bound by state statute should be quite evident. Again, making sure our elections are fair and accurate should be a bipartisan effort and we should be continually looking to improve our election administration process.

It is of utmost importance that every citizen in Wisconsin has confidence in their vote being legally cast and counted correctly. Election integrity is not a partisan issue and we need to work together to ensure successful, free, and fair elections.

–Knodl, R-Germantown, represents the 8th Senate District.

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