by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If a voter reads the campaign websites of candidates like Tudor Dixon, who is running for governor of Michigan, or Tim Michels, vying for the same position in Wisconsin, he will likely come across their stated position to ban “Zuckerbucks.”
The term has become a catch-all to describe private entities donating millions of dollars to fund the official government vote-counts in the 2020 elections. Chief among them was Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose non-profit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), gave $350 million to 2,500 election departments across 47 states.
Election officials mainly used the money to buy masks, plexiglass dividers, and other resources to mitigate risks related to the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2020 election.
Allowing private individuals and companies to fund official election practices may open the door to corruption because many of the CTCL operatives and advisers were highly ideological, some Republicans have argued.
Among them is Alabama governor Kay Ivey, whose state was the first to ban Zuckerbucks. “Big tech’s efforts to undermine the integrity of our elections has no place in our country, and I’m proud to have signed legislation that ensures Alabama’s election process remains air-tight,” she said in an April 13 press release.
Two weeks later, Florida governor Ron Desantis followed Ivey’s lead and signed a similar bill. “They effectively commandeered the machinery of the actual elections. That is wrong, that is not inspiring confidence in terms of having elections with integrity,” he said at a press conference on April 29.
A similar bill in Georgia passed the state’s house on March 15 and is awaiting a vote in the state senate.
Some have touted the trend of local election offices taking money from Zuckerberg as evidence of former president Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen. While there were some suspicious practices by advisers from the CTCL, there is little proof of this assertion.