Cash Bail a Stealth Issue in Wisconsin: Ballots & Boundaries

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Three initiatives are on Wisconsin’s statewide ballot next week, and their potential impact on voter turnout is anyone’s guess.

Proposals to change the rules for when someone accused of a crime should be kept behind bars while awaiting trial are provoking debate in the state Legislature, and surely must be generating calls to talk radio programs, but haven’t been part of the early onslaught of TV commercials.

As of this morning, the firm AdImpact hadn’t captured any digital or broadcast ballot-question campaign spots in Wisconsin. We also came up empty when we checked the state campaign finance filings.

“The statewide ballot measures are suffering from a lack of oxygen right now,” said Anthony Chergosky, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

These questions were placed on the ballot by the GOP-controlled Legislature:

By the way, there are plenty of campaign commercials on the air in Wisconsin, mostly focusing on the pivotal Supreme Court election. Read more in this deep dive: Court Election is a Clash of Constitutional ViewpointsTiffany Stecker

See also:

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Ohio Ballot Measure

An abortion-rights proposal is one step closer to the ballot.

Backers of a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution got the OK to start trying to collect the more than 413,000 voter signatures required to put the issue before voters this fall.

And there’s already organized opposition. A group called Protect Women Ohio, has launched a $5 million advertising campaign.

Part of the foes’ strategy is to link abortion and transgender transitioning. An ad warns parents that when it comes to getting an abortion or a sex change, ” you could be cut out of the biggest decision of her life.”

What the proposed amendment says: “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.” — Associated Press and NBC

See also:

TEXAS: Jackson Lee for Mayor?
Semafor quotes a former district staffer who said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is being urged by prominent Houston leaders to “seriously consider” a mayoral run.

PENNSYLVANIA, TEXAS: Eyeing the Senate
Some familiar faces may be considering Senate candidacies.

Politico looked at the political math facing Republicans if failed gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano runs for the seat held by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Daily Beast covered the possibility of former Sheriff David Clarke running to succeed or defeat Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

House ’24

Exclusive analysis by Bloomberg Government’s Greg Giroux has us looking at the New York congressional delegation in a slightly different light. He crunched the district-by-district numbers to show how voter sentiment changed in more than just US House races.

And he looked at how five of the six newcomer New York Republicans are working together. The odd freshman out: Rep. George Santos. READ MORE

Managing Elections

Becker Bows Out from Board
This is David Becker’s last day at the Electronic Registration Information Center, which crunches data from more than half of US states to identify when people are registered to vote in more than one place, or died, or moved.

Last week Florida, West Virginia and Mississippi announced they’re pulling out of the nonprofit organization following partisan attacks against Becker, a former election lawyer in the Clinton and Bush administrations.

“My role with ERIC since its inception has just been that of a non-voting board member. I literally just attend meetings,” he said in an interview. “It’s just strange.”

There’s no equivalent organization to help the exiting states automatically find people who are no longer eligible to vote in a particular jurisdiction.

“The people who are going to pay for this most are the local election officials who run the elections,” Becker said. “They’re going to see more undeliverable mail going to wrong addresses, they’re going to see longer lines at polling sites,” as voters have more problems with registration, he said.

Becker added that there was also going to more provision ballots, and “that’s going to lead to longer ballot count times.” — Alex Ebert

ARKANSAS: Fraud Squad
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin said he’s setting up an Election Integrity Unit to track potential violations of election laws.

The move follows a state law that required the a.g. to set up a special hotline for receiving election law complaints. — hat tip: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


North Carolina’s highest court is now deliberating whether to give the Republican-controlled state Legislature unfettered power to redo court-imposed political district lines.

The court’s ruling will have the power to change the national political and legal landscape, potentially giving the GOP more breathing room as it fights to hold on to its slim US House majority.

It also could impede the US Supreme Court‘s ability to decide a case seeking to strip state judges of the ability to rule on election law, including the constitutionality of congressional districts, voter eligibility, and mail-in ballot requirements—an argument called the Independent State Legislature Theory. READ MORE from Alex Ebert


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To contact the reporters on this story: Tiffany Stecker in Sacramento, Calif. at; Alex Ebert in Madison, Wisconsin at; Greg Giroux in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at; Bennett Roth at

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