No Facebook Funding for Elections

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What’s a good way to erode Americans’ trust in elections further? The answer can be found in North Carolina, where Gov. Roy Cooper recently vetoed a bill that would ban private funding for public election administration. Such funding was rampant in 2020—in North Carolina and nationwide—and it likely benefited Democrats. Some states have already enacted a ban, and more should follow before the 2022 midterms.

Gov. Cooper vetoed a bill passed by the Republican legislature. Lawmakers were responding to 2020’s unprecedented phenomenon of individuals and organizations, usually from out of state, providing grants directly to state and local election officials. The money came from a variety of sources, but the largest by far was $400 million from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Primarily routed through the Center for Tech and Civic Life, the funding was dispersed to roughly 2,500 counties in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The center described it as a means of ensuring “safe and reliable” voting amid the pandemic, and while jurisdictions had to request the money, there was no mechanism for oversight or accountability once they had the funds in hand.