Other Group

U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence

Website:

https://www.electionexcellence.org/

Formation:

2022

Type:

Election Security Group

 U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is an initiative of the left-leaning but formally non-partisan Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) launched in 2022 to bolster election security by financing the training of local election officials throughout the United States.

In 2020, CTCL received a $350 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to promote election security. Due to right-of-center opposition, Zuckerberg and Chan have committed to not donating any more money to election security. Shortly after their announcement, CTCL launched the Alliance, which has no connection with Zuckerberg nor Chan.

The Alliance is connected to numerous left-of-center groups both through financial support and advising. 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 New Venture Fund. [1] [2]

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 election security and voter safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The contribution attracted criticism from conservatives concerned that private donations from left-of-center sources to non-partisan election infrastructure might induce bias in favor of Democrats. Funds went disproportionately to swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. Numerous states with Republican controlled legislatures passed laws banning or restricting private donations to election offices. [3] [4]

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. [5] Zuckerberg and Chan have no involvement in the Alliance. [6]

Structure

In its first year of operations, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is opening applications to local election offices to receive resources and training on election security. Offices which show sufficient “commitment” to improving will be certified as “U.S. Centers for Election Excellence.” [7] Support is provided to members for at least two years. [8]

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. [9]

Partner Groups

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is led by the Center for Tech and Civic Life in collaboration with the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, the Elections Group, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, Center for Civic Design, the Prototyping Systems Lab at the University of California at Davis, and U.S. Digital Response. [10]

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. [11]

The program’s funding comes from the Audacious Project, a program of TED Conferences that “brings together social entrepreneurs with private donors.” [12] 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. [13] [14]

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. [15]

References

  1. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  2. “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. ^
  3. 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. ^
  4. 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 ^
  5. 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. ^
  6. 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. ^
  7. “A community of support focusing on the fundamentals of democracy.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/. ^
  8. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  9. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  10. 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. ^
  11. 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. ^
  12. 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. ^
  13. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
  14. “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. ^
  15. “FAQs.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.electionexcellence.org/faq. ^
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