2024 Election

Wisconsin Voters Approve GOP-Backed Amendment To Ban Private Funding For Elections

Voters in Wisconsin approved two election-related amendments to the State Constitution on Tuesday, including one that bans the use of private money for election administration. 

The Republican-backed amendments came after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spent millions backing groups that funded election administration in counties across the country, including in Wisconsin, during the 2020 election. Critics argued that the massive amount of election funding distributed to non-profit groups, known as “Zuckerbucks,” unfairly benefited Democrat-dominated counties.

The initiative to ban private funding, Question 1, passed with 54% of the vote in favor and nearly 46% against. A section will now be added to the State Constitution that says “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 Hill reported

The second initiative, Question 2, defined who can administer various aspects of elections. It passed with nearly 59% supporting and 41% opposed. It stipulated that “only election officials designated by law may perform tasks in the conduct of primaries, elections, and referendums.”

Opposition to the two amendments was greatest in the Democratic-heavy counties surrounding Madison and Milwaukee. The amendments were approved as Wisconsin is again expected to be a battleground state for a likely rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in November. 

“Victory! Wisconsin has spoken and the message is clear: elections belong to voters, not out-of-state billionaires,” Wisconsin GOP Chairman Brian Schimming said in a statement. “Thanks to the efforts by the Republican Party of Wisconsin and grassroots organizing, Wisconsinites have turned the page on Zuckerbucks and secured our elections from dark money donors.”


According to the Foundation for Government Accountability, more than $10 million in “Zuckerbucks” was spent in Wisconsin during the 2020 election. The FGA estimated that more than 80% of the funding went to areas Biden won by an average of 37 points. 

Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, a group that has urged states to ban the use of outside funding for elections, praised the move in a statement obtained by The Daily Wire. 

“Honest Elections Project Action congratulates Wisconsinites for voting to enshrine a ban on private influence on election administration in their state constitution,” Snead said. “Private influence schemes such as ZuckBucks in 2020 and ZuckBucks 2.0 in 2024 sow distrust in election outcomes, which is why they should be banned in all 50 states. Moneyed interests, conservative and liberal alike, have no business influencing how elections are administered.”

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