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 In an ironic twist, a candidate running to oversee the operations of Wisconsin’s public schools is praising Michigan billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos, who has doled out millions of dollars to support taking money from public schools to fund private schools. In response to DeVos being announced as Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, John Humphries issued a statement praising the billionaire who has no formal, professional experience in education, no record of even attending a public school herself and who sent her four children to private schools.

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Gov. Scott Walker is defending his rigging of the rules on voting to give himself and his fellow Republicans an unfair partisan advantage by repeatedly making the demonstrably false assertion that measures like voter ID, “made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that the more things change, the more they stay the same with Walker, citing the recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series about Gov. Walker’s rise to power that reported in 2004, as the state co-chair of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, “His duties included stoking fears of voter fraud.”

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 Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who spent much of the summer and fall outside of Wisconsin appearing on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign, has been rumored to be under consideration for a position with the Department of Homeland Security. Today Clarke is once again not in Wisconsin to do his job, reportedly travelling to Washington D.C. today for an audition with Donald Trump.

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One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on billionaire Donald Trump appointing billionaire Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Not only has DeVos spent her family fortune to buy-off Republican politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, but also her American Federation for Children, which has spent nearly $5 million in Wisconsin elections since 2010, is led by disgraced former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, central in one of the biggest political scandals in the history of Wisconsin politics.

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 Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke spent his summer and fall on the stump campaigning for Donald Trump. Now Clarke is said to be a contender for appointment as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under Trump. Meanwhile, this year has seen a string of fatal incidents at the Milwaukee County Jail that Clarke oversees, including the death of a newborn.

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 Donald Trump’s tapping of Stephen Bannon, a leading figure in the “alt-right” movement that promotes overtly racist white nationalism and virulent misogyny, to a top position in his administration has raised alarms across the political spectrum. But according to One Wisconsin Now Research Director Jenni Dye, Trump’s selection of longtime Republican Party insider Reince Priebus is equally shameful, given his long history of involvement voter suppression schemes. Nationally and in Wisconsin, these Republican-backed voter suppression laws and the Supreme Court’s weakening of the Voting Rights Act impacted turnout and the results of the election.

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As the November 2016 Election votes are counted and many races remain undecided, the numbers are clear about one thing – early voting is hugely popular with Wisconsin voters.

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A federal court ruling in the voting rights suit One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, et. al. paved the way for expanded days, hours and sites for early voting in Wisconsin. According to the latest figures from the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), the votes are in, and early voting is a resounding success with a record 650,808 ballots cast early, in-person. In total, over 797,000 votes were cast in Wisconsin either early in-person or via mail-in absentee ballot according to the November 7 WEC report.

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In the closing days of his 2016 campaign, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is reportedly on a bus tour with Donald Trump’s son, Eric. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted how fitting it is for Johnson, who has amassed an appalling record on issues related to sexual violence against women, is touring the state with the son of Donald Trump. Eric Trump has defended his father after he was caught on tape on a bus bragging about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it, saying, “ ... sometimes that’s what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence.”

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A report today by Bruce Murphy in Urban Milwaukee raises serious questions about the true purpose of state Department of Justice employees, including investigators from the Division of Criminal Investigation, being deployed to polling places on Election Day by Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel. After Schimel’s announcement yesterday, One Wisconsin Now raised concerns about partisan electoral shenanigans on the part of the Republican Attorney General who, in addition to defending Republican anti-voter efforts in court, has consistently refused to participate in investigations of Republican political malfeasance.

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Data on early voting being reported by Wisconsin municipalities sends a simple message, voters will vote when given opportunities to vote. One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross noted that record early voting is occurring in Wisconsin as a result of the organization’s successful federal lawsuit striking down Republican imposed restrictions on early voting in Wisconsin.

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Why would Arkansas billionaire Jim Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, write a check for $1,000 to a candidate for state Senate from Fond du Lac Wisconsin? One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said Feyen’s support for Walton’s pet project, expanding less accountable private school vouchers that take money from public schools, could explain it.

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Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has refused to provide assistance in criminal investigations of political corruption by the campaigns of Republicans or investigate leaks about the criminal probe. He has even declared that a blatant example of “pay-to-play” in which a Republican wrote legislation to personally benefit a major campaign contributor was not worthy of investigation but in Schimel’s words, “the essence of representative government.” But today Schimel announced he would be deploying agents from the Department of Justice as part of his “election integrity” effort.

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With one week left before the November 8 election One Wisconsin Institute has released two new videos of Wisconsin student loan borrowers telling their stories as part of their “I Am A Student Loan Voter” campaign. Short videos from borrowers Caroline and Melissa and Maurice highlight the impact of the student loan debt crisis on Wisconsinites and why borrowers must participate in elections to make policymakers pay attention to the need for reforms.

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Fueled by contributions from out-of-state billionaires and the state big business lobby, the pro-private school voucher lobbying group the American Federation for Children (AFC) has reported pouring over $1 million worth of independent expenditures into state legislative races. The group, whose Wisconsin operations are overseen by disgraced former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen has also larded the campaigns of candidates and the Republican Assembly and Senate legislative campaign committees with $34,000 in direct contributions between September 1 and October 24.

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A group that worked with Gov. Scott Walker and to help elect Republican state Senators, including Luther Olsen, received $750,000 in campaign contributions from one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of lead in paint. Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald worked with the company’s lobbyist to craft language giving the company special, retroactive immunity from legal liability for their product that poisoned children. And Luther Olsen, as member of the budget writing Joint Committee on Finance, voted for the measure in a late night budget amendment. And the gang is getting back together on the eve of the election with Walker and Fitzgerald as featured guests at a November 1 campaign fundraiser for Luther Olsen.

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Donald Trump surrogate U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-The Real World) has joined his party’s presidential nominee in claiming his candidate’s lack of support is the result of rigged elections. On Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” late last week, Duffy offered an unhinged conspiracy theory, claiming George Soros was rigging voting machines.

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According to information obtained by One Wisconsin Now about television ad purchases, the pro-private school voucher group the American Federation for Children (AFC) is hitting the airwaves to help Republican Rep. Todd Novak. Information collected from television stations and cable systems by a professional media buying firm finds that the special interest group created to push expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program, funded with public tax dollars, will be spending in excess of $101,000 over the final days of the campaign.

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Candidate for State Senate Dan Feyen is touting the importance of a “game plan” in his television advertising. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, based on a review of his statements in forums and in media interviews, Feyen’s play call is toeing the Republican party line on issues like taxes, education and women’s health.

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It seemed harmless enough when U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson began an appearance on the UW–Madison campus by likening the U.S. Constitution to business contract. But it went horribly wrong when Johnson went on to explain that as a business guy, contracts, like the U.S. Constitution that he swore an oath to uphold, were “complicated” and that “...you rarely read the full contract.” One Wisconsin Institute Research Director Jenni Dye noted that perhaps Johnson treating the Constitution like a contract he doesn’t read explains why he’s refused to do his job as a senator and give timely hearings and votes to federal judicial nominees.

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In response to a question from the audience at a local candidate forum, longtime Senator Luther Olsen made it clear that he wants to hide his vote in the presidential race from voters. But that’s just the latest in a long string of votes Sen. Olsen has attempted to hide by saying one thing while doing another when he’s in Madison.

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In a Wisconsin Eye interview earlier this year, Dan Feyen said he doesn’t think the state needs to increase public education funding. But a review of the impacts to schools in Senate District 18 reveals that kids and taxpayers are paying the price for the destructive education policies Feyen supports.

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Following media reports yesterday that the Green Bay City Clerk refused to have a satellite voting location based on her belief that ‘students lean more toward the democrats’, One Wisconsin Institute today called for the City of Green Bay to take action to address students’ ability to cast their ballot. In emails obtained by One Wisconsin Now and first reported on by The Nation, the clerk asked the Wisconsin Elections Commission if she had an argument regarding an early voting location on campus “being more of a benefit to the democrats?” after noting that she doesn’t “like the idea at all.”

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A new report by Ari Berman of The Nation reveals that the Green Bay City Clerk opposed having a satellite voting location on the UW-Green Bay campus based on her belief that ‘students lean more toward the democrats’, in records obtained by One Wisconsin Now. One Wisconsin Now will appear at UW–Green Bay this morning at 10 a.m. in the 1965 Room of the university union to discuss why students have a big stake in the issues at hand in this election.