by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
Almost exactly a year ago, I noted how a left-wing organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) influenced election administration in North Carolina and nationwide through funds provided by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg (AKA: “Zuck Bucks”). I also noted how CTCL was behind a new attempt to influence election administration underway in the form of a coalition of groups called the Alliance for Election Excellence:
The 2022 election did not see the massive influx of private funding for election administration that influenced the outcome of the 2020 election. The threat of progressives controlling election administration has not diminished, however. The CTCL launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence in 2022 to create “a set of common values and standards” of elections. The Alliance announced that ten jurisdictions comprise the initial cohort of their program, including Brunswick and Forsyth counties in North Carolina.
Documents revealed through public records requests by the Honest Elections Project (HEP) and reviewed by HEP and Locke indicate that the CTCL actually designed the Alliance to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration in target offices and push progressive voting policies.”
The Alliance’s model is to provide “scholarships” to members that they can redeem for services from the Alliance. Those services include training, legal and political advice, and public-relations guidance. In return, members must give the Alliance information on their inner workings and devise an “improvement plan” with the Alliance to alter how they operate. Members must also provide in-kind contributions, at taxpayer expense, to the Alliance in the form of helping it develop its programming.
The left-wing Democracy North Carolina praised the Alliance’s work in North Carolina. They even said the quiet part out loud by linking the Alliance’s activities to their own “push for progressive changes to election laws and procedures.” Some of those changes include weakening the witness requirement for mail ballots, requiring election officials to accept all mail ballots up to nine days after election day, and creating automatic voter registration.
Under public pressure, the heads of the Brunswick and Forsyth counties’ board of elections said they would not accept funding from the Alliance a few weeks later. Both said, however, that they would continue to be members. Members must give the Alliance an annual membership fee and “turn over a vast array of information regarding their inner workings” to that organization. The latter amounts to in-kind contributions to the Alliance at taxpayer expense.
We now know that the other shoe has dropped.
According to a report in the Federalist, both the Brunswick and Forsyth county boards of elections have formally withdrawn from the Alliance for Election Excellence. Forsyth County Director of Elections Tim Tsujii withdrew from the Alliance in a November 9 letter, and Brunswick County Director of Elections Sara LaVere confirmed her county’s withdrawal on December 8.
Both letters cited not having time to fulfill their obligations to the Alliance during the 2024 elections as reasons for the withdrawals. Continued public pressure (especially in Brunswick County) and the Zuck Bucks ban in Senate Bill 747, passed last year, were likely contributing factors. The General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of SB747 last October.
(For more information on the influence of Zuck Bucks on the 2020 election in North Carolina, see pages 63-73 of the Locke report “What Happened in 2020? How 2020 Altered North Carolina Elections and What We Can Do to Fix It.”)