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LWVWI Recommends Vote "No" on Welfare Referendum

LWV of Wisconsin | Published on 3/17/2023

The election is on April 4. Do you know what's on your ballot? This week we are taking a look at the Welfare Referendum that will appear on every Wisconsin voters' ballot. The League is urging voters to VOTE NO!

What is an advisory referendum? The results of this referendum will have no impact on the current law. However, legislative leadership said the results of this referendum will be used to guide future legislation.

What is the question? “Shall able-bodied, childless adults be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits?" Voters can visit MyVote.WI.Gov to see the full sample language on their ballot.

What are the issues with this referendum? It is misleading. The question does not properly inform voters and this vague wording could cause problems down the line.

1) Voters do not know what taxpayer-funded welfare benefits are being referred to. This could apply to a number of public benefit programs.

2) Additionally, the term “able-bodied” is not defined. Are there exceptions? For example, does this apply to a person who is able-bodied but who has a mental health condition?

Voters can’t make a reasonable decision when casting their vote on this vague advisory referendum.