Zuckerbucks Shouldn't Pay For Elections

The 2020 pandemic elections was not stolen , but it was certainly a super-broadcaster of bad precedents. More than a year later, we still...


The 2020 pandemic elections was not stolen, but it was certainly a super-broadcaster of bad precedents. More than a year later, we still receive reports of the huge private money that has supported official government voting efforts in 49 states. Much is still unknown, but lawmakers already know enough to ban the practice.

A nonprofit called the Center for Technology and Civic Life, or CTCL, funded by Mark Zuckerberg, says he gave 350 million dollars to nearly 2,500 electoral services during the 2020 campaign. Last month, he published his tax form 990 for the period, with 199 pages listing grants to support the “safe administration” of voting amid Covid-19. Some conservatives see this “Zuckerbucks” largesse as a clever plot to help Democrats win.

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CTCL “consistently gave larger grants and more money per capita to counties that voted for Biden,” says an analysis by the Capital Research Center. His tally for Georgia, to choose a state, shows average subsidies of $ 1.41 per capita in Trump areas and $ 5.33 in Biden areas. A conservative group in Wisconsin suggests that the additional voter education funded by CTCL could have increased Mr. Biden’s turnout there by about 8,000 votes. It’s not hard to see why they are worried.

On the flip side, CTCL’s biggest check was $ 19,294,627 in New York City, and in a ploy to turn America blue, that would be an eight-figure waste. Ditto for size checks with red areas. DeSoto County, Mississippi, with a population of 185,000, went 61% for President Trump and it received $ 347,752. The county installed plastic shields, bought more voting machines to avoid queues, and hired workers to sanitize the equipment. “This money has been a big help,” said a spokeswoman, because “none of these things were budgeted for.”

Another caveat is that it is difficult to disentangle partisan prejudices from urban prejudices. Big cities have problems voting in big cities, and they were perhaps more likely to ask CTCL for help. According to the Capital Research Center, only two places in Nevada received grants: Clark County (Las Vegas) and Washoe County (Reno). No other county in the state has 60,000 residents, and the people of the rugged desert probably didn’t need the help.

There are good questions about how CTCL spent the money, and if Republicans take the House this year, maybe they will ask the question. Yet even under the purest motives, private election financing is inappropriate and sows distrust. This is evident in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which received $ 1,245,706, plus in-kind assistance from CTCL partners.

One was Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, a member of the National Vote at Home Institute, who has become terribly comfortable in Green Bay. In a single email he offered to help with tracking rejected mail-in votes, saying “processing the ballots might be something we could get off your plate.” City clerk Kris Teske rightly refused.

Other emails show him helping to plan the layout and staffing of the ballot counting center. On polling day he was inside that room at one point with a tag marked “City employee”.

Ms Teske seems to have objected to this outside influence in vain. Two weeks before the vote, she went on leave. Then she resigned, citing clashes with the town hall. “It allowed staff who were not trained in electoral law to stand for election, as well as people who were not even employees of the City of Green Bay,” Mrs Teske wrote. She felt cut off, “even though it’s the clerk’s job to administer an election.”

In a rebuttal to what she called “extensive disinformation,” Green Bay City prosecutor Vanessa Chavez said Mr Spitzer-Rubenstein “had no decision-making power” and “never helped with matters involving real ballots “. She said the city was “not obligated” by CTCL to accept such aid.

Yet among the “advisory services” that CTCL made available to Green Bay, one consultant was from the Brennan Center, a highly ideological organization that supports Democratic legal and electoral causes. What if the Conservatives subscribed to “voter education” by municipal clerks, while sending experts from the Heritage Foundation?

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This is not how elections should go, especially in the current era of partisan mistrust. Some states, including Georgia, Arizona and Florida, have already decided to ban donations to election offices. But the Democratic governors of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have blocked the bans or restrictions.

In a veto message last month, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said private funds “were needed” in 2020 to pay for masks and the like. He told lawmakers to “start properly funding electoral councils”, which “would end the need for subsidies”. Maybe the legislature should call Mr. Cooper’s bluff and sweeten his bill with a little extra cash. It is worth it to eliminate a source of electoral mistrust.

Newspaper Editorial Report: What’s Plan B for a Shaky Legislative Agenda? Images: Bloomberg / Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Newsrust - US Top News: Zuckerbucks Shouldn't Pay For Elections
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