GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – State Senator Roger Roth is calling on Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich to resign after an online post alleged partisan groups has access to ballots in the 2020 election.
“During the election the City of Green Bay allowed an outside partisan group funded by Facebook to come in and help administer the election,” said Sen. Roger Roth, (R) WI – Senate District 19.
At the heart of the controversy is a $1.6 million dollar grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life given to Green Bay to help fund the election.
Both the online report from the Wisconsin Spotlight website and Senator Roth allege the money was contingent on allowing outside actors access to ballots ahead of the election.
“The Mayor and his Chief of Staff were, in reading through these emails, were pressuring the clerk to allow this outside partisan organization to participate in the election process,” said Roth.
These allegations come from a platform funded by Empower Wisconsin, a self-described conservative information hub.
The City of Green Bay issued a response refuting their claims saying, “The election was administered exclusively by city staff. As part of the $1.6m election grant award, the city received technical assistance from experts in elections, security, public relations and analysis. They provided additional input and insight, but never had access to ballots, computers, storage, equipment or the like.”
Assembly Representative Kristina Shelton, (D) WI – Assembly District 90, said there is no evidence to support the claims that the results are fraudulent, but she is concerned about any private money spent on a public election.
“I believe that funding should likely comes from a public source,” said Shelton. “We shouldn’t be putting our locally elected officials and clerks in a position where they have to seek additional funding.”
State Senator Roth introduced legislation regulating private dollars funding elections in Wisconsin before this report came out and his team says the findings show these regulations are needed now more than ever.
“I’m not against people wanting to donate money to help municipalities conduct elections, that I’m not against and I don’t think anyone is,” said Roth. “It’s when strings come attached to that to give organizations access.”