If not for Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, Louisiana might have found its democracy outsourced in last year’s elections, and it has work to do to prevent that entirely.
Crunching numbers shows the deleterious impact of $419.5 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan on election fairness. Most of that money went to a special interest group favored by technology titans with a history of advocating for leftist voting policies in elections administration which receives its funding from large donors for liberal causes, the Center for Tech and Civic Life. Another group garnered the rest, doled out more specifically to inform the public on changes to election procedures and polling locations, and to recruit poll workers in response to the pandemic, which appeared neutral in impact.
Because the CTCL grant criteria clearly attempted to put a thumb on the scales of election outcomes. The strings it attached were for jurisdictions to maximize use of methods that compromised ballot integrity, including mass mail balloting, ballot harvesting, ballot “curing,” and unsupervised dropbox use, favored by Democrats and leftists.
The groups also handed out money disproportionately to election board in counties that had larger voter bases for Democrats. While these typically urban counties receive higher per voter dollar totals from government to conduct elections, that skew skyrocketed with the grants. A separate study showed in Georgia, narrowly won by Democrat Pres. Joe Biden with the party barely capturing its two Senate seats, that counties won by Biden received about four times what those he lost got from the CTCL.
Further, the tactics the CTCL insisted that recipients use would appear to convey a structural bias favoring Democrats. Counties that received funds saw a 2.3 point swing in favor of Democrats compared to 2016, while non-funded counties saw no change.
However, Landry had the foresight upon learning of the proposal not only to vet state law to find R.S. 1400.2 that mandates all election expenses come from appropriations only made by the legislature, but also then to warn elections officials that accepting any of this kind of money would violate the law and his office would enforce a legal judgment against that. Naturally, election officials pulled back after learning this, and none of this outsider money made its way into state elections administration.
To make the prohibition more obvious and specific, Republican state Rep. Blake Miguez during the second special session of the Legislature that commenced not long after introduced a bill expressly denying reception of those kinds of private funds. Shamefully, every Democrat in both chambers save one voted against its successful passage, and Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards signaled his willingness to see elections administration be corrupted for partisan advantage by vetoing the measure.
Such a bill would prevent a future legislature from allowing the state to accept such funds and then funnel that money in a partisan fashion through appropriations. Election integrity shouldn’t be for sale for special interests to manipulate, and a bill like that should become law as soon as possible.