(April 27, 2022 – Elkhorn, Wisconsin) Wisconsin’s Walworth County is the first local government to ban the acceptance of private monies or grants to use in the administration of elections. On April 21, 2022, the Walworth County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance banning private funding of elections. The action came as a result of education by the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and their legal representatives, attorneys from the Thomas More Society, in an effort to prevent widespread election improprieties and illegal election bribery that has marked the state’s recent elections.
“This is a win for Wisconsin voters,” explained Erick Kaardal, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “Despite a plethora of condemning evidence documenting and verifying rampant election improprieties, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has vetoed the corrective election legislation that has been passed. In the absence of any insistence on election integrity from the top, the Wisconsin Voters Alliance has been working with counties and cities to pass ordinances that specifically ban the acceptance of private monies for use in elections.”
Kaardal has been a prominent figure in the Wisconsin election integrity dialogue, working closely with Wisconsin Representative Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, who is the Chair of the General Assembly Elections and Campaigns Committee.
The amendments to the Walworth County ordinance, having been passed and published, are now law. The action adds the following to the county’s election code:
- No donation shall be accepted from any person or non-governmental entity for the purpose of elections administration, including but not limited to collection of ballots or voter registration.
- No grant shall be accepted from any person or non-governmental entity for the purpose of elections administration, including but not limited to collection of ballots or voter registration.
Wisconsin’s election bribery law, Wisconsin Statutes section 12.11, already prohibits municipal clerks from receiving money to increase in-person and absentee ballot opportunities within the municipality. Walworth County’s ban on private grants or donations earmarked for elections is consistent with Wisconsin Statutes section 12.11.
The issue of proven illegal election interference has been raised multiple times, from a variety of counties, before the Wisconsin Election Commission. Under the leadership of Wisconsin’s Senate Minority Leader, Ann Jacobs, D-Milwaukee, the Commission has refused to take any action to protect the state’s voters.
“Because the Commission and the state’s executive branch have been unwilling to bar private money from entering the elections,” emphasized Kaardal, “the burden has fallen upon cities and counties to protect themselves from outside interference by illegal money sources. The people understand that the right to vote is a cornerstone of a free society and that the biased intervention of those who want to influence the outcome with their dirty dollars is not to be tolerated. We thank the Walworth County Board of Supervisors for being the first in Wisconsin to step up and take this important action.”
Read Ordinance No. 1271 – 04/22 Amending Section 30-156 and Section 30-312 of the Walworth County Code of Ordinances Relating to Election Administration Donations and Grants as adopted by the Walworth County Board of Supervisors of April 21, 2022, at the urging of the Wisconsin Voters Alliance represented by Thomas More Society attorneys here [https://thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/WALCO-ZUCKBUCKS-Ban.pdf].