Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have donated $250 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life in early September to boost resources for local election officials, according to Fox News.
The funding will reportedly create additional polling places and ballot drop boxes.
“Since our initial donation, there have been multiple lawsuits filed in an attempt to block these funds from being used, based on claims that the organizations receiving donations have a partisan agenda. That’s false,” Zuckerberg said in a social media post.
“These funds will serve communities throughout the country—urban, rural and suburban–and are being allocated by non-partisan organizations.”
“Judges in multiple states have rejected temporary restraining orders, recognizing that these lawsuits are frivolous, peddle misinformation, and waste election officials’ time at the voter’s expense,” the Center for Tech and Civic Life told Fox News in a statement.
“As a non-partisan organization backed by Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisan officials, we look forward to continuing this critical grant program in these unprecedented times so that voters can participate in this election and remain safe and healthy.”
Zuckerberg added in his Facebook post,“To be clear, I agree with those who say that government should have provided these funds, not private citizens. I hope that for future elections the government provides adequate funding. But absent that funding, I think it’s critical that this urgent need is met.”
From Fox News:
Critics contended the money primarily went to heavily Democratic areas in battleground states in an effort to tilt the balance. Further, they also noted the political leanings of the tech group. Thus far, the tech group has won in court.
Aside from Zuckerberg and his spouse, key donors to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) have been mostly left-of-center funders such as the Skoll Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative-leaning investigative group that monitors nonprofits.
The Chicago-based CTCL was founded in 2012 by Tiana Epps-Johnson – the executive director – Donny Bridges and Whitney May. The three previously had worked together at the New Organizing Institute (NOI), which The Washington Post referred to as “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts of digital wizardry.” The NOI executive director, Ethan Roeder, led data programs for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Four federal lawsuits were filed in late September by Michigan’s Election Integrity Fund, by the Wisconsin Voters’ Alliance, by the Minnesota Voters’ Alliance, and by two Pennsylvania congressional candidates and several state house members. The lawsuits contend federal law prohibits local governments from accepting private federal election grants.