Activists Are Screwing Up Wisconsin’s Elections. It’s Time To Stop Them.

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Election Integrity

Originally published in RealClearPolitics (March 9, 2023)

As Wisconsinites get ready to cast their votes for Supreme Court justice on April 4, one leftist group is busy bungling the election across the state.

Earlier this month, the Center for Voter Information flooded Wisconsin with pre-filled absentee ballot applications to gin up support for Democrats, most notably far-left Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz. There was only one problem: The center botched voters’ names, creating confusion and alarm in a state already troubled by election mistrust and security.

It got so bad that the Wisconsin Elections Commission issued a warning to voters about the center’s “misleading mailers,” adding that even the center didn’t know how many mailers it had issued statewide. Worse, no one seems to know what will happen to the countless mis-delivered ballot applications, a further recipe for fraud and election mischief.

But this is far from the Center for Voter Information’s first offense – or its worst.

The center is one of two of Washington, D.C.-based nonprofits created to “register voters and elect Democrats,” as even the Associated Press admits. Together with its “sister,” the Voter Participation Center, the couple routinely floods battleground states with voter registration mailers in election years –  often to disastrous effect.

As far back as 2008, liberal NPR accused the center of suppressing black voters to help Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in the Democrats’ presidential primary, calling its targeted mailing strategy “a classic example of voter suppression – sowing confusion in order to drive down turn-out.”

In 2020 in my state of Virginia, the centers accidentally sent nearly 600,000 erroneous absentee ballot forms that confused voters, mixing up the counties of Fairfax, Richmond, Roanoke, and Franklin with similarly named cities. As in Wisconsin, the state had to step in to fix the center’s screw-up.

It’s the same story in North Carolina, where some residents received as many as 7 mail-in ballot applications from this shadowy group – all unsolicited and designed to look like government documents.

Yet the centers aren’t government agencies at all, but privately run tax-exempt nonprofits created to boost turnout among the Democratic Party’s preferred voters.

The Voter Participation Center’s own website boasts that in the 2022 midterms it sent out an incredible 85.5 million mailers across 32 states – including 4 million in Wisconsin – many of which targeted “people of color, young people, and unmarried women.” The center calls these demographics the “New American Majority.”

It’s no mistake that sounds like a political term. The left’s most influential donor collective, the Democracy Alliance, believes the New American Majority is “central to progressive long-term success” in elections and funds multi-million-dollar turnout campaigns targeting these voters.

Left-wing activists lie when they say this is about helping people vote. In reality, it’s a cynical play to win elections by pre-vetting voters the left believes will endlessly vote for Democrats.

The centers are run by veteran Democratic operative Tom Lopach and funded by progressive groups, including the Sierra Club, Tides Foundation, and League of Conservation Voters. In 2020, the Center for Voter Information even spent $583,000 directly aiding Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Now the center has turned its sights on warping Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race in a bald-faced bid to elect a far-left judge who will cement progressive control over issues ranging from criminal justice, to election security, to abortion up to the day of birth.

But here’s the rub: Tax-exempt nonprofits were never meant to do biased voter registration campaigns. In fact, the IRS prohibits 501(c)(3) groups like the Voter Participation Center from running unfair campaigns favoring one party over another.

The shameless left will do anything to win elections, which is why activists have weaponized America’s charities for partisan gain. Even liberal journalist Sasha Issenberg admitted of the Voter Participation Center in 2012 that though it “was officially nonpartisan, for tax purposes, there was no secret that the goal of all its efforts was to generate new votes for Democrats.”

It’s also why the Democratic turnout group Mind the Gap advises donors to give their millions to 501(c)(3) nonprofits doing “voter registration focused on underrepresented groups,” because such programs “are 2 to 5 times more cost-effective at netting additional Democratic votes than the tactics that campaigns will invest in.”

If we want to save free elections in America, this political machine must be stopped.

States can explore bans on nonprofit voter registrations and mail-in ballots, the riskiest way to run elections. Congress can investigate the IRS’s failure to crack down on lawless activists. They might go further and reform the entire nonprofit sector to return it to its original purpose: good, old-fashioned charity.

But it will take patriotic grassroots groups to motivate lawmakers and truly defeat the left and restore our republic. It’s time to step up, conservatives.