WSJ: Madison poised to get $1.5 million from nonprofit that prompted GOP’s constitutional amendment

“A nonprofit organization that gave Madison funds to administer the 2020 elections amid the COVID-pandemic is now poised to award the city $1.5 million to plan and operate safe and secure elections in the future.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and eight City Council members have introduced a resolution to participate in the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence and accept small membership grants and also to accept a $500,000 grant for 2023 and $1 million grant for 2024 from the Center for Tech & Civic Life (CTCL) to develop more resilient, trustworthy and voter-centric election administration practices.

For the 2020 election, the Chicago-based CTCL distributed more than $10 million in grants to about 214 municipalities, including Madison, in 39 of Wisconsin’s 70 counties, including areas won by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Conservatives have criticized and challenged grants made in the 2020 election, and the Republican-led Legislature is trying to get a constitutional amendment on the April 4 ballot that would ban those types of grants.

Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said she submitted an application for Madison to be considered as a Center for Election Excellence because that would allow the Clerk’s Office to collaborate with other election administration offices across the country to identify the values and standards that define election excellence.

“It was my hope that this project would help our team recover and move on from 2020,” she said.

The $1.5 million in grants, Witzel-Behl said, came as something of a surprise. “When we applied, we were not aware that any grants would be awarded to Centers for Election Excellence,” she said.

The money must be used for planning and operating safe and secure elections and can’t be used to influence the outcome of an election or intervene in a political campaign.

The Finance Committee will consider the resolution on Monday, and the City Council on Jan. 17.”

Read more here at the Wisconsin State Journal