Wisconsin Legislature Passes Strong Bill to Limit Private Election Funding

June 14, 2021

Washington—On Thursday, June 10, the Wisconsin legislature passed Assembly Bill 173, a bill to improve Wisconsin’s election procedures and mandate that any private funding for election administration is distributed to counties on a per capita basis. Heritage Action, a national conservative grassroots organization, released a statement from Executive Director Jessica Anderson applauding the passage of the law:

“Assembly Bill 173 is a win for common sense and for fair, free elections. Wisconsinites deserve elections that are free from any appearance of unfairness, which includes private money influencing election administration. When officials are funded by private, outside groups or individuals, it creates partisan incentives and the appearance of corruption, particularly when funds are distributed unfairly.

In 2020, private groups including the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life sent over $400 million to election officials across the nation to fund election administration, including over $10 million to Wisconsin. These funds were disproportionately sent to left-leaning counties, which had a significant partisan effect on turnout. In 2020, just five cities in Wisconsin received 86% of the state’s CTCL funding. Assembly Bill 173 would fix the partisan tilt of private donations, ensuring that any donated funds are distributed statewide to counties on a per capita basis.

Governor Evers should immediately sign this bill into law. A bill to reduce the partisan influence of private funding on elections should not be controversial. A veto of the bill would be an admission that Gov. Evers values partisan election outcomes over fair elections.”

More details on the bill:

  • Funds can only be used as approved by the Joint Committee on Finance.

  • Violations of this law result in a Class 1 felony.

  • Anyone tabulating votes must be a resident and adequately trained.