Non-profit

U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence

For more information on the 2020 election, see Center for Technology & Civic Life (Nonprofit)

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is a coalition of left-of-center election “reform” nonprofits created in 2022 by the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and aligned nonprofits ostensibly to bolster election security by training local election officials across the United States.

In 2020, CTCL received a $350 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to fund thousands of local elections offices in the form of COVID-19 “relief grants.” Critics have alleged that CTCL’s “Zuck bucks” favored Democratic vote-rich counties and cities in key battleground states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania, and likely increased Democratic turnout enough to help Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump. At least 18 states have since banned or restricted “Zuck bucks” since the 2020 election and investigations into CTCL by conservative organizations, such as the Capital Research Center. [1] In early 2022, Zuckerberg and Chan announced they would not attempt to privately fund elections offices in the future, as they had in 2020. Shortly after their announcement, CTCL launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, which has no official connection with Zuckerberg and Chan. [2]

Although the Alliance is officially nonpartisan and claims no ideological bent, its members are largely active in left-wing politics and election “reform” schemes intended to boost Democratic turnout, such as automatic voter registration and expansion of vote-by-mail systems. [3] The Alliance is sponsored by the Audacious Project, a program of TED Conferences, which is supported by the Bridgespan Group and Science Philanthropy Alliance, a project of the left-of-center New Venture Fund, itself part of a multi-billion-dollar “dark money” network run by the consultancy Arabella Advisors. [4] [5]

Founding

In mid-2020, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as part of a larger effort to ensure voter safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. CTCL’s effort to privately fund public elections offices was criticized by conservatives and watchdog groups as inappropriate and biased on a per capita basis in favor of Democratic vote-rich cities like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and counties such as those surrounding Atlanta, Georgia, which were essential to Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. The Capital Research Center, which publishes InfluenceWatch, has extensively documented CTCL’s partisan spending pattern in the 2020 election; for more information, see Center for Tech and Civic Life. [6]

Numerous states with Republican controlled legislatures passed laws banning or restricting private donations to election offices. [7] [8] [9]

In April 2022, CTCL executive director Tianna Epps-Johnson announced that Zuckerberg and Chan would not be making more donations to election security organizations due to these accusations. Instead, CTCL would launch the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence to bring in other partners. [10] Zuckerberg and Chan have no involvement in the Alliance. [11]

Structure

In 2022, its first year of operation, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence has announced it plans on opening applications to local election offices to receive resources and training on election security. Offices which show sufficient “commitment” to improving will be certified “U.S. Centers for Election Excellence.” [12] Support is provided to members for at least two years. [13]  The Alliance’s online FAQ states that it will give “guidance and resources” to any election office members that attract criticism for receiving funding from the Alliance. [14]

Left-wing Partners

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is led by the Center for Tech and Civic Life in collaboration with a number of left-of-center and politically active groups.

The Center for Secure and Modern Elections (CSME) is an election “reform” organization and a front for the New Venture Fund, a major pass-through and fiscal sponsor on the Left and part of a multi-billion-dollar “dark money” nonprofit network run by Arabella Advisors in Washington, DC. The group supports “reforms” many on the Left believe will aid Democrats running for office, including automatic voter registration. [15] In 2020, CSME helped CTCL funnel Zuck bucks into at least two states: Louisiana and Pennsylvania, which earned it a lawsuit in early 2022 from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who argued: [16]

Whether the defendants here may be well-intentioned, private money in any amount, but particularly the amount of money offered by the defendants to select clerks and/or registrars, has an inherently insidious and corrupting effect.

The Elections Group is a consulting firm founded by two former Democratic county elections officials to offer “guidance” to election offices on how to implement ballot curing and all-mail elections systems, including drop boxes meant to bypass U.S. Postal Service collection bins in order to enhance mail-in and absentee ballot collection. [17]

Both the Elections Group and CTCL were referenced by the Biden campaign as key resources and partners in election security. [18]

The Center for Civic Design aims to redesign ballots to make voting easier, particularly for perceived likely Democratic voters such as recent immigrants, youth, and ethnic minorities. It recommends policymakers make vote-by-mail permanent in their states and counties. It’s advised by the National Vote at Home Institute, a left-wing advocate for all-mail elections, with funding from liberal billionaire and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund. [19]

In addition, the alliance includes less partisan members such as Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, the Prototyping Systems Lab at the University of California at Davis, and U.S. Digital Response. [20]

Funding and Spending

The Center for Tech and Civic Life announced plans to spend $80 million over five years on the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. [21]

The program’s funding comes from the Audacious Project, a program of TED Conferences that “brings together social entrepreneurs with private donors.” [22] The Audacious Project is “supported” by the Bridgespan Group, a non-profit consulting firm that has worked for many major left-of-center organizations, including Planned Parenthood and the Rockefeller Foundation. Other members of the Audacious Project include the Skoll Foundation, Virgin Unite, ELMA Philanthropies, and the Valhalla Charitable Foundation. Prospective Audacious Project members are identified by Science Philanthropy Alliance, a project of the New Venture Fund. [23] [24] Along with the Alliance, the Audacious Project’s new 2021-2022 cohort includes ClimateWorks: Drive Electric, Glasswing International, MyAgro, the International Refugee Assistance Project, Noora Health, the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and the Tenure Facility. [25]

References

  1. Hayden Ludwig and Sarah Lee. “States Banning or Restricting ‘Zuck Bucks’—UPDATED 04/28/2022.” Capital Research Center. April 28, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/states-banning-zuck-bucks/ ^
  2. Riccardi, Nicholas. “Zuckerberg money won’t be in next round of aid for elections.” Associated Press. April 12, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-biden-covid-technology-business-7c9c9aeca62a308aafef886859640835. ^
  3. Hayden Ludwig. “Making Vote By Mail Permanent.” The American Conservative. April 27, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-vote-by-mail-permanent/ ^
  4. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  5. “Support for the Science Philanthropy Alliance’s 2021 Activities.” Grant detail. Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://www.moore.org/grant-detail?grantId=GBMF4142.07. ^
  6. Hayden Ludwig and Parker Thayer. “Shining a Light on Zuck Bucks in the 2020 Battleground States.” Capital Research Center. Jan. 18, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/shining-a-light-on-zuck-bucks-in-key-states/ ^
  7. Riccardi, Nicholas. “Zuckerberg money won’t be in next round of aid for elections.” Associated Press. April 12, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-biden-covid-technology-business-7c9c9aeca62a308aafef886859640835. ^
  8. Riccardi, Nicholas. “Zuckerberg’s cash fuels GOP suspicion and new election rules.” Associated Press. August 8, 2021. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/elections-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-d034c4c1f5a9fa3fb02aa9898493c708. ^
  9. Hayden Ludwig and Sarah Lee. “States Banning or Restricting ‘Zuck Bucks’—UPDATED 04/28/2022.” Capital Research Center. April 28, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/states-banning-zuck-bucks/ ^
  10. Riccardi, Nicholas. “Zuckerberg money won’t be in next round of aid for elections.” Associated Press. April 12, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-biden-covid-technology-business-7c9c9aeca62a308aafef886859640835. ^
  11. Vigdor, Neil. “Mark Zuckerberg Ends Election Grants.” New York Times. April 12, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/us/politics/mark-zuckerberg-midterms-elections-grant.html. ^
  12. “A community of support focusing on the fundamentals of democracy.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/. ^
  13. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  14. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  15. Hayden Ludwig. “Making Vote By Mail Permanent.” The American Conservative. April 27, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-vote-by-mail-permanent/ ^
  16. Hayden Ludwig. “Louisiana Turns Up the Heat on CTCL and Arabella’s New Venture Fund.” Capital Research Center. April 5, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/louisiana-turns-up-the-heat-on-ctcl-and-arabellas-new-venture-fund/ ^
  17. Hayden Ludwig. “Making Vote By Mail Permanent.” The American Conservative. April 27, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-vote-by-mail-permanent/ ^
  18. Bob Bauer and Dana Remus. “THE PROTECTION OF THE 2020 ELECTION: THE VIEW FROM THE BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN.” Accessed April 28, 2022. Original URL: https://joebiden.com/the-protection-of-the-2020-election/. Archived: https://capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/joe-biden-campaign-2020-election-security-protection.pdf ^
  19. Hayden Ludwig. “Making Vote By Mail Permanent.” The American Conservative. April 27, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/making-vote-by-mail-permanent/ ^
  20. Gardner, Amy. “Nonprofit pledges $80 million for local election administration.” Washington Post. April 13, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qHmKqAm-lF4J:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/12/center-for-tech-civic-life-elections-funds/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ua ^
  21. Riccardi, Nicholas. “Zuckerberg money won’t be in next round of aid for elections.” Associated Press. April 12, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-biden-covid-technology-business-7c9c9aeca62a308aafef886859640835. ^
  22. Gardner, Amy. “Nonprofit pledges $80 million for local election administration.” Washington Post. April 13, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qHmKqAm-lF4J:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/12/center-for-tech-civic-life-elections-funds/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ua. ^
  23. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  24. “Support for the Science Philanthropy Alliance’s 2021 Activities.” Grant detail. Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://www.moore.org/grant-detail?grantId=GBMF4142.07. ^
  25. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  See an error? Let us know!