Zuckerberg Group Targeting Local Elections Again

The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) has announced a new $80 million initiative aimed at enticing local election departments to join an alliance comprised of similar departments. If they do so, then they will be eligible for funding.

The alleged purpose of the initiative is to assist departments in streamlining their processes and to increase election integrity. Similar arguments were made by CTCL in the last election cycle when the funds were cynically called “Zuckbucks.”

The CTCL is mainly funded by Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook — now called Meta. Although the group claims to be bipartisan, they almost exclusively assisted with increasing Democrat turnout in 2020. This was accomplished through encouraging states and localities to expand mail-in voting. Conservatives argued that this allowed for more possibilities for fraud.

There was widespread backlash after 2020 with some jurisdictions enacting legislation to curb similar interference. Zuckerberg claimed that CTCL would not engage in local election meddling again but that appears to be an empty promise given the recent initiative.

Although CTCL is not pouring the $300 million into local elections, it did in 2020. And $80 million is more than enough to influence key elections if placed properly.

It is unclear if the new initiative will run afoul of the states that have banned direct donations in response to the 2020 effort. What is also unknown is how the alliance of local election departments will operate or what parameters, if any, will be in place to prevent the appearance of impropriety.

There is a large section of the country that distrusts the election process. The involvement of the CTCL again in the upcoming election cycle will give more ammunition to those who promote this perspective. Even if the organization can improve elections — a dubious claim given the group’s history — it may do more harm than good if it increases the perception of flawed elections.

Zuckerberg has not commented on the fact that the organization is involving itself in local elections despite his earlier promise.