Mark Zuckerberg Ends Election Grants – Adeaurelia.org

Mark Zuckerberg, who donated nearly $500 million to election offices across the country in 2020 and drew criticism from conservatives who suspected his influence in presidential elections, will not provide additional grants this year, a spokesman for the founder confirmed Tuesday. From Facebook. .

The spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said the donations from Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were never intended to be an election administration fund stream.

The couple donated $419 million to two nonprofits that disbursed grants in 2020 to more than 2,500 election departments, which were dealing with a shortfall in government funding as they adopted new procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The infusion of private donations helped pay for new vote-counting equipment, efforts to expand mail-in voting, personal protective equipment and poll worker training.

It also sowed seeds of mistrust among supporters of former President Donald Trump. Critics referred to the grants as “Zuckerbucks,” with some frequently claiming, without evidence, that the money was used to help secure Joe Biden’s victory. In response, several Republican-controlled states banned private donations to election offices.

“As Mark and Priscilla previously made clear, their donation of election infrastructure to help ensure Americans could vote during the height of the pandemic was a one-time donation given the unprecedented nature of the crisis,” LaBolt said in an email. email on Tuesday. “They have no plans to repeat that donation.”

The Center for Technology and Civic Life, a nonprofit group with liberal ties that became a recipient of $350 million of contributions from Zuckerberg and Chan in 2020, announced Monday that it would switch to a different model to support the work of local electoral administrators.

During an appearance Monday at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tiana Epps-Johnson, the center’s executive director, said the organization would launch a five-year, $80 million program to help meet the needs of election departments around the world. the country.

Called the US Alliance for Electoral Excellence, the program will get funding through the Bold Project, a philanthropic collective housed at the TED organization, the center said. Zuckerberg and Chan are not involved in the new initiative, LaBolt said.

The article originally appeared in the New York Times

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Mark Zuckerberg Ends Election Grants – Adeaurelia.org