The Wall Street Journal is spot on! Regardless of where you stand on election integrity, the 2020 elections were a “super spreader of bad precedents.”
A nonprofit called the Center for Technology and Civic Life, or CTCL, subsidized by Mark Zuckerberg, funded nearly 2,500 election departments during the 2020 campaign to the tune of $350 million. According to analysis from the Capital Research Center, CTCL “consistently gave bigger grants and more money per capita to counties that voted for Biden.” CTCL grants, in Georgia for example, averaged $1.41 per head in Trump areas, and $5.33 in Biden ones. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty calculates CTCL could have boosted Biden’s turnout in Georgia by 8,000 votes.
On the other hand, CTCL’s biggest check was $19,294,627 to New York City, and in a scheme to flip America blue, that would be a waste of eight figures. Ditto for sizable checks to red areas. DeSoto County, Miss., population 185,000, went 61% for President Trump, and it received $347,752. The county installed plastic shields, bought more voting machines to prevent lines, and hired workers to sanitize equipment. “This money was a huge help,” a spokeswoman says, since “none of these items were budgeted.”
There are good questions about how CTCL spent money, and if Republicans take the House this year, maybe they’ll ask. Yet even under the purest motives, private election funding is inappropriate and sows distrust.
This isn’t how elections should be run, especially in the current era of partisan mistrust. Some states, including Georgia, Arizona and Florida, have already moved to prohibit donations to election offices. But Democratic governors in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have blocked bans or restrictions.
In a veto message last month, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said that private funds “were needed” in 2020 to pay for masks and so on. He told lawmakers to “start properly funding elections boards,” which “would end the need for grants.” Maybe the Legislature should call Mr. Cooper’s bluff and sweeten its bill with some added money. It’s worth the trade for eliminating a source of election mistrust.
Wall Street Journal report: https://www.wsj.com/articles/zuckerbucks-shouldnt-pay-for-elections-mark-zuckerberg-center-for-technology-and-civic-life-trump-biden-2020-11640912907?st=ifadahvwd2k7c68&reflink=desktopwebshare_twitter
Capital Research Center report: https://capitalresearch.org/article/shining-a-light-on-zuck-bucks-in-key-states/
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty report: https://will-law.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2021ElectionReviewStudy.pdf