The 2020 presidential election was marked by sparks flying on the debate stage. But there was much, much more happening behind the scenes, far from the public eye: While Donald Trump and Joe Biden sparred in the media spotlight, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—an organization spearheaded by the wife of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—was channeling millions of dollars into election offices all around the country.
In total, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funneled more than $400 million to election efforts, most of which was siphoned through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a non-profit run by a former Obama fellow.
CTCL distributed hundreds of millions in “Zuckerbucks” to thousands of election jurisdictions in 48 states and Washington, D.C. These funds were pitched as “COVID-19 response grants” intended to simply assist election officials in the safe conduct of elections. However, the reality is much different. From Iowa to Florida, the infusion of Zuckerbucks into Democrat-leaning jurisdictions influenced the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Indeed, much of the Zuckerbucks were not even spent on COVID-19 related expenses—with states reporting expenditures on advertising, vehicle purchases, registering teenagers to vote, and other nonCOVID-related items.
The pivotal state of Georgia was one of the biggest targets of these funds, ultimately receiving one of the largest allocations of Zuckerbucks in the nation. Unfortunately, these grants had an impact on not only the way the election was conducted, but also on how it turned out.