The Wisconsin Republican Party is trying to expose the financial involvement of private entities in U.S. democratic processes, the state’s party leader has said.
In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Mark Jefferson said the party is trying to raise awareness about the influence of “Zuckerbucks” in Wisconsin’s recent election and restore voter confidence. at its current election integrity roundtables in nine cities with the public. .
“We believe that conversations lead to greater engagement, which is going to lead to greater trust in the system,” Jefferson said, referring to the election integrity events, which featured training and coaching sessions. recruitment for current and potential election officials.
“Right now, in addition to recruiting people to be poll watchers and poll workers, we want people to know [about] some of the issues we’ve had in the past with Zuckerbucks we’ve had, especially in places like Racine and Green Bay, and really, in all major cities in Wisconsin.
By “Zuckerbucks,” Jefferson is referring to donations from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to election offices across the country that funded the government’s official vote count in the 2020 election. couple donated $419.5 million to nonprofits, with $350 million going to the Left-wing Center for Technology and Civics (CTCL) Safe Elections Project.
The most recent investigation into the use of “Zuckerbucks” in Wisconsin’s election administration was led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who found that more than 200 Wisconsin jurisdictions had received of the CTCL’s “Zuckerbucks” in the 2020 election year, totaling more than $9 million.
Gableman led the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), which was created in 2021 by Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the election. 2020 presidential.
An adviser CTCL sent to Green Bay, Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, allegedly allowed unqualified people to help administer the 2020 election and offered help to ‘heal the ballots’, according to the clerk local Kris Teske, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Another adviser CTCL made available to Green Bay, according to the WSJ, was from the left-wing think tank Brenna Center for Justice, which says it supports “democratic legal and electoral causes.”
Jefferson said many on the left were “upset that billionaires are pouring money” into campaigning ahead of the 2020 election cycle.
But this attitude is very different from the way they approached the election in 2020.
“Now all of a sudden they’re fine with billionaires putting money into our election administration and actually helping fund the vote counting,” the director said.
“So that’s what we’re trying to shed some light…on this issue, and push for legislative changes and pass bills to ban it.”
Jefferson said the security of the 2020 election was of concern due to “exacerbated” irregularities caused by a record number of early votes and the chaos surrounding election administration.
“In the presidential elections, more or less, we will have 25% of the electorate voting before election day. And this last time, we were well above 50%. And so it jumped in a cycle, which in itself poses a difficult problem. But then when the rules aren’t followed additionally, you have a very, very sloppy process,” Jefferson noted. “It was a process that a lot of people didn’t trust, and I think for good reason.”
According to Special Counsel Gableman’s report, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) violated numerous laws during the 2020 election, including issuing guidelines that would have ordered local election officials to disregard state laws. that regulate absentee voting.
The report also alleges that the WEC violated the law by facilitating the voting of mentally incompetent nursing home residents, non-citizens and ineligible felons.
Gableman’s investigation is currently on hiatus, amid several legal battles.
In their efforts to improve the integrity of elections, Jefferson said Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature have tried to pass legislation, such as a bill banning the use of private funds in election administration. However, the proposals were ultimately opposed by the state’s Democratic Governor, Tony Evers.
So, Republican-dominated counties have now taken up the issue to hold their own referendums on whether to ban “Zuckerbucks.” So far, Walworth County has passed the ban successfully.
Jefferson said the 2022 Wisconsin GOP platform, which the party plans to release in the coming days, will feature similar Republican themes to its 2020 platform. He said the resolutions accompanying the platform will dive deeper into issues of the day, of which electoral integrity is at the top of the list.
Matthew Vadum and Steven Kovac contributed to this report.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include details about the Office of the Special Advisor.