Monday, September 11, 2023
Monday, September 11, 2023

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Wisconsin Can No Longer Use The National Mail Voter Registration Form

(The Center Square) – The National Mail Voter Registration Form is no longer allowed in Wisconsin.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Maxwell this week banned the form because it asks questions not allowed by Wisconsin law, including a question about a voter’s race. The form also allowed people to register to vote in Wisconsin without providing other information required by state law.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sued over the form and won.

“The legal issue in the case was simply that the statute did not call for [the extra information], so by including those requests, the form went beyond the statute and was unlawful,” WILL’s Lucas Vebber told The Center Square. “The Judge never reached those issues though because he determined the form was never lawfully adopted in the first instance.”

Maxwell said in his order the Wisconsin Elections Commission “failed in [its] most basic duty” to register voters using the appropriate forms.

A spokesman for the Elections Commission didn’t respond to questions from The Center Square.

Neither WILL nor the Elections Commission knows just how many people in Wisconsin registered to vote using the national form.

Vebber said it doesn’t matter because the judge’s order only affects voter registrations going forward, adding “no one was removed from the voting rolls as a result of the decision.”

“The Court gave them 14 days to withdraw all their illegal guidance, and to inform clerks that the national form cannot be used in Wisconsin. WEC could still appeal the decision,” Vebber said.

Wisconsin voters can register online, at their local election office and in-person at the polls on election day.

Colorado Lawsuit Argues 14th Amendment Eliminates Trump From Presidential Primary Ballot

A group of Colorado voters filed a lawsuit Wednesday to prohibit former President Donald Trump from appearing on the Republican presidential primary ballot in the state.

The 115-page complaint alleges Trump shouldn’t be allowed to run for the 2024 Republican nomination for president under a clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Known as the disqualification clause, it states anyone who took an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” cannot hold a state or federal office.

The 14th Amendment was passed by the Senate in 1866 and ratified in 1868 to provide civil rights for freed slaves. The clause prevents military officers who served in the Confederacy from serving in any public office. In 1872, a supermajority of each chamber of Congress voted to remove the clause.

Earlier this week, Maine officials announced they were looking at the 14th Amendment to prevent a candidate from holding elected office, but didn’t mention Trump in a statement.

Six Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters – including former elected officials – represented by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed the lawsuit, according to a media release from the organization. The respondents in the case are Democratic Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Trump.

“I look forward to the Colorado Court’s substantive resolution of the issues, and am hopeful that this case will provide guidance to election officials on Trump’s eligibility as a candidate for office,” Griswold said in a statement.

Griswold’s office said Colorado law “is unclear on how to consider the requirements of the United States Constitution in determining whether a candidate is eligible for office, including the language of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.”

No candidates have yet qualified for the 2024 presidential primary ballot in Colorado.

Trump, who holds a substantial lead in most polls over all other Republicans running for president, has been indicted in four criminal cases in the last few months.

The Colorado lawsuit alleges Trump “engaged in” an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, by knowingly and voluntarily aiding and inciting the insurrection before the event. Trump's campaign website didn't post an immediate response to the litigation.

"Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election," Trump said in a post Monday on the social media site Truth Social.

One of the lawsuit's petitioners, Krista Kafer, a Republican and newspaper columnist in Colorado, said in a statement Trump “disqualified himself from running in 2024 by spreading lies, vilifying election workers, and fomenting an attack on the Capitol.”

“Those who by force and by falsehood subvert democracy are unfit to participate in it. That’s why I am part of this lawsuit to prevent an insurrectionist from appearing on Colorado’s ballot,” she said.

Colorado successfully kept someone off the ballot for president in 2012. Abdul Karim Hassan, a naturalized citizen, unsuccessfully argued before Judge Neil Gorsuch, now a U.S. Supreme Court justice, he was discriminated against because he didn’t meet the requirement of being a natural-born citizen.

The National Archives and Records Administration May Withhold Records From Hunter Biden Investigators

House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., pushed forward the investigation into President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, Wednesday by calling out a federal agency that may be withholding information.

Comer put the spotlight on the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal recordkeeping agency that tipped off the Department of Justice when former President Donald Trump had allegedly held on to classified documents. Comer says NARA has held back certain information, claiming it is “personal.”

“In discussions between NARA and Committee staff regarding the Committee’s previous request for special access to Vice-Presidential records, NARA informed the Committee that certain documents in NARA’s custody would not be produced to the Committee – and, indeed, NARA would not inform the Committee of their existence – if NARA deems those records to be ‘personal records’ as defined by the PRA,” Comer said in a letter to Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan.

Comer pushed back on that sentiment.

“However, 'personal records' are defined as those records 'which do not relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of' the Vice President,” the letter said. “The Committee has made clear that its investigation involves potential abuse by then-Vice President Biden of his official duties; it cannot be NARA that determines whether certain records ‘do not relate to or have an effect upon’ those duties.”

Comer’s letter is part of an ongoing effort to learn to what degree the president was aware and involved in his son Hunter’s business dealings. IRS whistleblowers testified that the Biden family and associates received about $20 billion from entities overseas, including in Ukraine and China, via about 20 shell companies.

Long-time associate of Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, has said publicly that Hunter used phone calls from his father to help secure deals.

“Joe Biden never built an ‘absolute wall’ between his family’s business dealings and his official government work – his office doors were wide open to Hunter Biden’s associates,” Comer said in a letter to Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan. “There is evidence of collusion in the efforts to spin media stories about Burisma’s corruption while Vice President Biden was publicly pushing an anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine.”

As The Center Square previously reported, Hunter Biden faces an array of legal challenges related to allegations of gun, tax and foreign influence crimes. Special Counsel David Weiss said in court filings Wednesday that Hunter could face another indictment before Sept. 19.

“Suspiciously, Hunter Biden’s associate had a media statement on Burisma approved by Vice President Biden himself the same day Hunter Biden ‘called D.C.’ for help with the government pressure facing Burisma,” the letter said. “Americans demand accountability for this abuse of government office for the benefit of the Biden family.”

Comer also has asked NARA for information on Air Force Two, which Hunter Biden allegedly used for travel in some of his dealings.

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Poll Finds 88% of Voters Support Some Form of Abortion

The Center Square Voters' Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 88% of voters, including 76% of Trump-first voters, support some form of legal abortion. Included in this 88% are those 37% who believe it should be legal in all circumstances and 51% who believe it should only be legal under certain circumstances.

"You would assume that the pro-lifers are more hardened in their support, but Republicans are actually more open-minded on this issue than their counterparts across the aisle," said Mike Noble, founder and CEO of Noble Predictive Insights, which conducted the poll.

An especially salient issue especially since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, abortion has been on the ballot in seven states in the intervening year, with anti-abortion measures failing on each occasion. Earlier this month, an Ohio ballot measure to make it harder to add items such as abortion rights to the state constitution failed, earning only 43.3% of the vote in a state where former President Donald Trump won 53.3% in 2020.

Significantly, 51% of the subset of voters who said they support abortion in some circumstances said that they only support abortion if there is no heartbeat detected, a stage of a fetus’s development that occurs between five to six weeks after conception, which is reflected in the ongoing increase in the number of states adopting “heartbeat laws” that ban abortion if there is a heartbeat detected. According to a study by the University of California, San Francisco, one in three women learn they are pregnant more than six weeks after conception.

This position was fairly consistent across party lines and levels of education in that subset of voters taking the middle position, with 54% of Republicans, 49% and Democrats, 47% of independents, 54% of those without a college degree, and 47% of those with a college degree believing that abortion should only be legal before there is a heartbeat.

Meanwhile, 80% of voters who say they support abortion in some circumstances support abortion if the mother’s life is in danger, 74% if conception is the result of rape or incest, and 70% if there is likely to be no quality of life due to detected health complications.

Of voters polled, only 12% said abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, including 20% of Republicans, 5% of Democrats, and 9% of independents. Strikingly, younger voters were the most likely to support complete bans on abortion, with 14% of voters 18-34 opposing any abortion compared to 12% of those 35-44, 13% of those 45-54, and just 10% of those over 55.

The poll was conducted from July 31 to Aug. 3 and included 2,500 voters – 1,000 Republicans, 1,000 Democrats and 500 independents. The margin of error for the aggregate sample was ±2.4% and each political group was independently weighted. For information about the methodology, visit

Varney, Perino, Calderón to Moderate Second GOP Debate

The moderators for the second Republican presidential primary debate have been set, but the candidate leading in the polls has yet to show any interest in attending.

Fox News announced Wednesday that Stuart Varney, Dana Perino and UNIVISION’s Ilia Calderón will co-moderate the debate from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Varney, one of Fox Business News's original anchors, is the host of "Varney & Co." Perino co-anchors "America’s Newsroom" and serves as co-host of "The Five." She is also a former White House press secretary under George W. Bush. Calderón is co-anchor of UNIVISION’s weekday evening newscast "NOTICIERO UNIVISION" and its newsmagazine "AQUÍ Y AHORA." She co-moderated the final debate between Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in March 2020.

Former President Donald Trump, who is leading the polls by a wide margin, skipped the first debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Instead, Trump participated in a pre-recorded interview with ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired at the same time as the first debate. Trump previously confirmed media reports that he would pass on "the debates."

Trump holds a big lead over the rest of the candidates. He frequently posts poll results on his social media platform that show him ahead of the rest of the Republican pack.

A Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 53% of surveyed Republicans picked Trump, followed by 18% naming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence and entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy came in at third and fourth place with 7% and 6% support, respectively. The poll was conducted before the first debate.

On Wednesday, Trump called President Joe Biden a "Manchurian Candidate." Author Richard Condon's 1959 novel "The Manchurian Candidate," which has twice been adapted to feature films, is about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an assassin. Trump also said "Biden’s only campaign strategy is Indicting me."

Trump faces 91 charges across four indictments in Florida, New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

Wisconsin Republicans Unveil Tax Cut Plan to Save Average Filer $772 a Year

(The Center Square) – Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday outlined a new $2.9 million tax cut plan.

The Rochester Republican said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers needs “to fix his veto mistake and sign this middle-class tax cut.”

The state budget in July was without a $3.5 billion tax cut courtesy of Evers' veto.

As proposed, the "Returning Your Surplus" would lower Wisconsin’s second highest personal income tax rate from from 5.3% to 4.4%. That would mean a tax cut for married couples making between $36,840 and $405,550 a-year.

“The average taxpayer is expected to see a reduction of $772 in taxes," said Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva. “Our current surplus is the result of the taxpayers paying too much, rather than the government spending too little. Our goal is to get the surplus out of Madison and back into the pockets of its rightful owners: the taxpayers.”

Evers said the first proposal didn’t do enough for middle class families. He signed a small tax cut for people making less than $27,630.

It's unknown if he'll veto the new proposal.

Rep. John Macco, R-Ledgeview, said the governor should explain to Wisconsin taxpayers just what he plans to do.

“This is your money that the government took too much of, and it’s only fair that it is given back to you,” Macco said. “We are also expanding income tax relief to Wisconsin retirees. No one who has worked their entire life in Wisconsin should be forced to move to another state because of our tax code.”

The Republican plan would also end the state’s income tax on the first $150,000 of retirement income in the state.

Vos said the tax cut plan will get a hearing later this week, with the goal of voting on the package next week, and sending it off to Evers after that.

Poll: Voters Support School Choice Measures

School choice has become a heated topic in state houses nationwide, with six states enacting universal school choice programs this year, which allow public funds to follow students to private schools. Critics say it draws funding away from traditional public schools.

School choice debates aren’t likely to go away during the election season, with the topic coming up at the Republican debate last week and the surge of legislation to implementation. Experts told Chalkboard the issue is here to stay and will play a role in the 2024 election.

According to The Center Square Voters' Voice Poll, conducted by Noble Predictive Insights, a slight majority, 51%, of voters say they support some kind of school choice measures. Of those, 34% of voters say tax dollars should follow students regardless of the situation, and 17% said they support targeted school choice programs for low-income Americans.

“When you look at the party breakdowns, you see a split,” said Mike Noble, CEO and founder of Noble Predictive Polling. “Democrats say the dollars should stay in the schools right now. Republicans are on the opposite end of that spectrum and say tax dollars should follow a student regardless of the situation and let the parents decide what’s best.”

The poll of 2,500 voters found that some strongly oppose school choice measures, with 31% responding that they think taxpayer dollars should only go toward public schools and not be used for school choice initiatives. About a fifth of voters, 18%, were unsure of their stance on school choice.

The poll asked 1,000 Republicans, 1,000 Democrats and 500 independent voters about their views on schools and found that support for universal school choice was highest among Republicans at 50%, followed by independents at 35%. Democrats reported the least support, with only 18% saying they supported universal choice initiatives.

A fifth, 22%, of Democrats said they “support school choice initiatives but think that tax dollars should primarily be directed towards lower-income Americans to help them access better educational opportunities for their children,” more than Republicans (12%) or independents (16%).

“Again, we’re seeing that this is a wedge-issue topic on education,” Noble said. “Democrats usually do much better than Republicans on education, but I think Republicans have dialed in a pretty good message and approach.”

Noble said the framing makes it an easy sell for parents.

“Who doesn’t want to have a choice?” Noble said.

Robert Enlow, president and CEO of nonprofit EdChoice, says the ideal of choice is here to stay across all political parties, but the debates about what that looks like will continue into next year's election.

“What choice looks like is going to be an evolution in the next 24 months,” Enlow said.

Enlow said that parents want more customization of public schools while questioning what the money is being used for.

“The era of one-size-fits-all education is dead,” Enlow said.

“The support for choice has increased over the last 20 years to the point where it is undeniable,” Enlow said. “COVID supercharged the demand for customization.”

Enlow compared the evolution of school choice support to a perpetual motion machine, where advocates once were educating and pushing and driving the conversation about school choice, but it’s on its own trajectory now.

“Parents have been added to this mix, they are driving the conversation now,” Enlow said.

Those with children under the age of 18 and those with older children are more likely to support universal school choice initiatives than those without children, according to the poll.

Some GOP Candidates Want to Eliminate the Department of Education. Can They Do It?

Republican presidential candidates have put the U.S. Department of Education on notice.

Several candidates said at last week's debate that they want to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education entirely.

Eliminating a Cabinet-level agency with 4,400 employees and a $90 billion proposed budget is a challenge that could take years to accomplish if any of the candidates could get the Congressional support needed to move forward with such a plan.

Getting the votes to dump the Department of Education would be a challenge on its own.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., re-introduced a bill in February that would terminate the department on Dec. 31, 2023. Massie's bill has 28 cosponsors. All of them are Republicans. To have a chance of becoming law with a Democrat-controlled Senate, any such measure would need bipartisan support.

Former President Ronald Reagan wanted to eliminate the Department of Education shortly after it took its modern form as a Cabinet agency in 1980. The Department of Education is primarily responsible for providing grants to public school districts and aid to college students.

Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman senior research fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, said any serious effort to dismantle the Department of Education would require a thoughtful plan to phase it out.

"If we're serious about this, and I think that we should be, it's something that we'll need a plan of phasing out the offices within the department that no longer serve a valid purpose and then moving other offices to different agencies within Washington," he told The Center Square.

For example, Butcher said the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights could be moved to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has a Civil Rights Division. And the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics could find a home within the U.S. Census Bureau, he said. Butcher said the federal government should also get out of the student loan business altogether.

"Washington should not be in the business of loaning money to students for college, it just shouldn't," Butcher said. "And what we have now is they monopolize the student loan market. They run some 90 plus percent of federal loans, and they have squeezed out the private sector."

Butcher said Pell Grants and Stafford loans could be moved to the United States Department of the Treasury "and then the remainder would be eliminated."

Butcher estimated it would take seven to 10 years to phase out the Department of Education.

Businessman and GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy didn't get into details during the debate, but made it clear what he wants to do with the Department of Education.

"Let’s shut down the head of the snake, the Department of Education," Ramaswamy said. "Take that $80 billion, put it in the hands of parents across this country."

Former Vice President Mike Pence also said he'd shutter the Department of Education.

The Heritage Foundation laid out a more detailed plan in 2020. That plan estimated immediate savings of more than $17 billion and more over time.

"Savings over a decade would far exceed the immediate total, as a gradual phase-out of programs, such as Title I, is realized, restoring revenue responsibility to the states," according to the report.

The Congressional Budget Office's primer on eliminating Cabinet-level departments said savings from closing any such department would depend on multiple factors.

"Eliminating a department could result in considerable budgetary savings to the federal government if some or all of the programs operated by that department were also terminated," according to the CBO. "The amount of savings would eventually be equal to the department’s full budget for the canceled programs, minus any income that the department had received through its operation of those programs. Initially, however, the government could incur one-time costs for terminating programs or activities, such as paying the cost of accrued annual leave and unemployment benefits to federal employees whose jobs had been eliminated or paying penalties for canceling leases for office space."

The CBO also noted that many decisions would have to be made along the way to closure.

"In deciding whether to eliminate one or more of the current departments and whether to terminate, move, or reorganize its programs and activities, lawmakers would confront a variety of questions about the appropriate role of the federal government," according to the CBO. "In particular, lawmakers would face decisions about whether the activities of a department should be carried out by the public sector at all, and if so, whether the federal government was the most effective level of government to conduct them. Even if lawmakers concluded that state and local governments were best positioned to operate a program or activity, they would still have to decide whether the federal government should coordinate particular activities that crossed state borders and whether programs administered by different states should meet national standards. In addition, lawmakers would face choices about how to organize most efficiently the activities of the federal government."

The Department of Education was started in 1867, when President Andrew Johnson signed legislation creating the first Department of Education.

The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the nation, did not respond to a request for comment regarding the elimination of the Department of Education.

Trump Trial Date Set for Middle of Republican Primary

A federal judge in former president Donald Trump’s election interference case set his court date for March 4, in the heart of the Republican primary battle.

The former president faces charges that he worked to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump, who was processed in Fulton County, Georgia, last week for similar charges, unsuccessfully fought to have this Washington, D.C. trial pushed until 2026, after the presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan set the date, which is the day before Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen key states vote for their pick in the Republican field.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said Monday that Trump and his alleged co-conspirators in the case will be arraigned Sept. 6.

Trump faces 91 charges across four indictments in Florida, New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C. The other charges are related to Trump’s alleged payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his handling of classified documents.

Trump's court date for the alleged payments is in late March, and the classified documents court date is set for May, both in the middle of a heated election year. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin July 15 of next year.

Trump, who is far and away the Republican frontrunner for president, has blasted the indictments as political weaponization of the legal system.

“It has just been reported that aides to TRUMP prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, met with high officials at the White House just prior to these political SleazeBags Indicating me OVER NOTHING,” Trump wrote on social media, referring to reporting from the New York Post that aides for Biden and Smith met just before the indictment was announced.

“If this is so, which it is, that means that Biden and his Fascist Thugs knew and APPROVED of this Country dividing Form of Election Interference, despite their insisting that they ‘knew nothing,’ Trump added. “It’s all a BIG LIE, just like Russia, Russia, Russia, & not knowing about son’s business dealings. DISMISS CASE!”

Most Republican candidates at the Republican debate last week pledged to still support Trump for president if he wins the nomination but is convicted.

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Two out of three American voters are not in favor of transgender female student athletes competing on women's and girls' sports teams.

The Center Square Voters' Voice Poll of 2,500 registered voters across the U.S., conducted by Noble Predictive Insights, found that 67% of voters are opposed to males who identify as females playing girls' or women's sports.

Men who took the poll were 75% against allowing transgender females playing girls' or women's sports and women were 60% opposed.

Republicans were 89% opposed, 6% supportive and 5% unsure, while Democrats were 45% opposed, 36% supportive and 19% unsure. The only subsection of voters to support transgender females playing female sports was those who identified as "strong Democrats." Those "strong Democrats" were 43% supportive with 37% opposed and 20% unsure.

"The group driving that support are very left-leaning Democrats," said Mike Noble, founder and CEO of Noble Predictive Insights, which conducted the poll. "It is pushed by Democrats on the left. Biden's administration has really embraced it."

Noble said the issue was an opportunity for Republicans to connect with independent voters and moderate Democrats. Two out of three voters who describe themselves as independent were against allowing transgender females from playing female sports.

"This is a huge opportunity for Republicans this election to use it as wedge issue," Noble said. "They don't have a lot of wedge issues. This is a good issue for Republicans."

Lia Thomas became the focal point of the transgender athlete debate in 2022 when Thomas became the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship.

Thomas was ranked 65th in the 500-meter freestyle in 2018-19, the last season Thomas swam for the Penn men's team, according to Swimming World Magazine. Thomas won the NCAA championship in the 500 freestyle in 2022 while competing for the Penn women's team.

Paula Scanlan, a former swimmer on the Penn women's team and a teammate of Thomas, has been critical of the decision to let Thomas compete against women.

Since then, states and schools districts across the country have engaged in controversial debates about whether to allow biological males who identify as females to participate in girls and women's sports.

The poll was conducted by Noble Predictive Insights from July 31 to Aug. 3. Unlike traditional national polls, with limited respondent count of about 1,000, Noble Predictive surveyed 1,000 registered Republicans, 1,000 registered Democrats, and 500 independents, culminating in a sample size of 2,500. The margin of error for the aggregate sample was ±2.4%, with each political group independently weighted. For information about the methodology, visit

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