FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL: Conservative organizations are calling for state legislatures to close loopholes regarding private funding of elections, after the same organization that distributed the Mark Zuckerberg election grants in 2020 issued a $2 million grant to a county in Georgia, one of two dozen states to ban private funding of election offices.
“States across the country have made great strides in promoting election integrity. But now, a new alliance of left-wing partisan organizations led by the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) is working to influence state election offices behind the scenes,” says a joint statement from Heritage Action for America Executive Director Jessica Anderson and Honest Elections Project Executive Director Jason Snead.
The Center for Tech and Civic Life distributed $350 million in Zuckerberg grants to local election offices in 2020. In 2022, the group launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence in partnership with other left-leaning groups funded by dark money organizations backed by Arabella Advisors and the Democracy Fund.
“The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, ‘Zuck Bucks 2.0,’ is pushing private dollars and partisan politics into local election offices, skewing them to the left,” the Anderson-Snead statement says. “They are actively working across the country to evade state laws intended to protect elections from their corrosive influence.”
Heritage Action for America is the grassroots advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank that is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.
The Daily Signal previously reported that DeKalb County, Georgia, had gotten a $2 million grant from the Alliance for Election Excellence. The Daily Signal also reported that two Utah counties, Cache and Weber, became members of the election alliance, but did not receive funding. Utah is among 24 states that banned private funding of elections.
DeKalb County Board of Elections Chair Dele Lowman Smith told the Georgia news outlet Decaturish that since election offices are not allowed to receive grants directly, DeKalb County’s finance department handled the application process and county commissioners voted to accept the $2 million.
The Center for Tech and Civic Life, which handles media inquiries for the Alliance for Election Excellence, did not response to The Daily Signal’s questions for this report.
One chief complaint in 2020 was that the Zuckerberg-based private grants went directly to election offices without any oversight by larger municipal governments.
“CTCL’s latest target is Georgia, which just held a highly successful election thanks to a new voting law that made it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Anderson and Snead said, referring to the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
Their joint statement continues:
Voters turned out in record numbers and reported virtually no problems. Despite this, CTCL and the Alliance are pumping $2 million in private grants into DeKalb County’s Board of Elections, circumventing a ban on private election funding. This is a clear ploy to evade the law. This conduct is unacceptable and needs to be met with a swift legislative response from the Georgia General Assembly.
Utah also has a ban on private election funding, yet the alliance has added two Utah counties to its ranks, proving that all states need to be vigilant and continue taking steps to keep election offices neutral and nonpartisan. Protecting the integrity of our elections is one of the most important efforts for our republic. Heritage Action and Honest Elections Project Action will continue to advocate for election laws that protect against corrosive outside influences that damage the integrity of our elections.
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