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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Constitutional amendment highlights WI primary ballot

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024   

Early voting is underway for the Wisconsin primary election and while the presidential primaries already appear settled for now, pro-democracy organizations say Badger State residents still have a lot to decide.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already secured enough delegates in their pursuit of party nominations for this fall's presidential race, but groups like All Voting is Local still implore voters to turn out for Wisconsin's April 2 election.

Sam Liebert, Wisconsin state director for the group All Voting is Local, pointed to municipal and county-level races. And there is a proposed constitutional amendment to ban private grants to help fund local offices administering elections. It is an idea his group opposes.

"I think the real question and the real issue at hand is, why are our elections and their administrators underfunded?" Liebert pointed out. "If there's so much concern about third-party funding, let's have that discussion in the state budget, at our local levels."

The ballot question was pushed by GOP lawmakers, who said such functions need to be shielded from any undue influence. In 2020, Wisconsin communities received grants from Mark Zuckerberg to help election clerks manage needs during the pandemic. Liebert argued permanently restricting donations would undermine election integrity, noting potential meddling from bad actors both foreign and domestic.

Opponents of the question countered election administrators are dealing with aging infrastructure and, in some cases, a lack of volunteers. As for the spring vote, Liebert noted Wisconsinites could ease some of the pressure by casting a ballot early.

"If they're able to vote early, in person, that's a great opportunity," Liebert stressed. "That helps make the lines go faster on Election Day."

Another proposed constitutional amendment Republicans have placed on the statewide ballot asks to further clarify who should be allowed to serve as a poll worker. The question is also opposed by many pro-democracy groups.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently tossed the state's legislative maps over gerrymandering claims. However, voters will not have to decide races involving new boundaries until the August 13 primary.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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