Bipartisan Coalition of Wisconsin Leaders Unite in Support of Core Democratic Principles

Press Release Wisconsin

Today, democracyFIRST announced that a diverse coalition of Republican and Democratic current and former elected officials across Wisconsin have added their names to the democracyFIRST Promise campaign. They join more than 350 like-minded individuals across 150 congressional, state, and local districts in presidential battleground states, united in their commitment to safeguarding free and fair elections in the United States.

The bipartisan democracyFIRST Promise campaign aims to hold elected officials and office-seekers accountable for upholding core pro-democracy, pro-rule-of-law principles when it comes to the way elections are conducted in this country. The Promise is centered on four principles:

  • Support every eligible American citizen’s right to vote in free and fair elections.
  • Denounce political violence against opponents, their supporters, and election workers.
  • Don’t propagate falsehoods and misinformation about the electoral process.
  • Accept and certify the final election outcome after all the votes are counted and support the peaceful transfer of power.

Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support these four core pro-democracy principles. A pre-election survey shows that, by a 50-point margin, voters said they could never support a candidate who disagreed with the Promise, 75 to 25 percent.

Among the first Wisconsin leaders to join the democracyFIRST Promise coalition were former Congressman Reid Ribble and Congressman Mark Pocan.

Former Congressman Ribble said, “Ensuring the right to vote for all citizens and maintaining the accuracy of vote counting are fundamental to our democratic values. Protecting these rights is crucial for the trust and stability of our government.”

Congressman Pocan said, “We’re currently witnessing a calculated, deliberate attempt to erode our democratic institutions and American democracy itself. It’s past time for all of us to speak up about the need to preserve our democracy, the republic, and rule of law. Regardless of party, it’s essential that we make clear: attempts to subvert free and fair elections must have no place in our political system.”

The following additional leaders offered these comments about why they joined the coalition:

Former State Rep. Mark Honadel:

“Since the birth of our great country, citizens have relied on free, fair and honest elections. We must strengthen and preserve this institution and then support the outcome. If not, America loses a core freedom that makes it the country we can all believe in.”

Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer:

“The democracyFIRST coalition embodies the very premise of our democracy: that no matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, you have the right to make your voice heard at the ballot box. I am excited to come together with current and former elected leaders from across the political spectrum to safeguard the integrity and transparency of our democratic processes.”

Former State Sen. Kathy Bernier:

“In serving the public, we must place the country’s well-being and constitutional values over party loyalty. Collaborative efforts across party lines are essential to preserving our democracy and addressing the many and various needs of our citizens.”

State Rep. Jodi Emerson:

“Our democracy only works if every eligible American citizen is able to safely and securely participate – without the threat of intimidation or violence. Together with champions of democracy across the aisle, we will work to ensure the democracyFIRST principles are protected and upheld across the Badger State.”

Former State Sen. Luther Olsen:

“The essence of democracy lies in the assurance that every vote matters and is counted fairly. Safeguarding this process is vital for the legitimacy of our government and the well-being of our society.”

State Rep. Francesca Hong:

“Over the past few years, we have learned that our democracy is not something to be taken for granted. We must do all we can to protect it and support every eligible American citizen’s right to vote, especially those who have been historically disenfranchised.”

Former Congressman Tom Petri:

“Thousands of our fellow citizens volunteer their time to conduct elections in cities and counties across Wisconsin and other states. It is important to recognize and support their important contribution to our democracy.”

State Sen. LaTonya Johnson:

“As elected officials, it is our responsibility to protect the freedom to vote for every eligible citizen, and to ensure that we are removing barriers to vote for disenfranchised communities. Through the democracyFIRST coalition, we will strive to ensure we are fostering a respectful environment for all voices to be heard, and for all communities to be represented.”

Former State Sen. David Zien:

“Voting is a sacred right that must be protected for every American. Accurate vote counting is essential to preserving the trust and integrity of our democratic system.”

State Rep. Lisa Subeck

“Wisconsin was once a leader for pro-democracy policies that put voters first, but in recent years, these very ideals have come under attack. It is time we come together across party lines and unite to defend democracy and move Wisconsin forward.”

democracyFIRST already made its mark in Pennsylvania ahead of the November 2023 Municipal Elections. Notably, in the most electorally competitive counties, a significant majority of candidates who committed to the promise won their elections, a testament to the power of the effort’s shared principles.

Dangerous anti-democracy rhetoric has significantly weakened confidence—in the United States and around the world—in the values, processes, and institutions that keep our country prosperous and safe. In 2024, candidates for public office must commit to restoring faith and preserving our constitutional republic, no matter their ideological differences.

For media inquiries or to schedule interviews with coalition members, please contact [email protected].

For more information about the Wisconsin coalition and the democracyFIRST Promise, please visit