A group of Wisconsin voters filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Election Commission against an activist group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that election-assistance grants it gave to Democrat-dominated cities violate state law and attempt to unfairly influence the outcome of the November election.
Wisconsin is an important 2020 battleground state that President Donald Trump, a Republican, narrowly won in 2016. In that election, Trump won 47.2 percent of the popular vote in the state, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton who won 46.5 percent. Wisconsin has 10 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
The complainant, Wisconsin Voter Alliance, is an unincorporated association of voters based in Suamico, Wisconsin, “that desires to have clean and fair elections in the state of Wisconsin,” according to the legal complaint.
The Alliance claims that grants allocated by the Zuckerberg-supported Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) favor Democrats because they went to the electoral apparatus in five Wisconsin cities—Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine—which, past data show, vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. The CTCL is a left-leaning election reform nonprofit based in Chicago.
“We’ve seen government playing favorites in elections before,” Phill Kline, director of the Amistad Project of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, said in a statement.
“Through much of last century, southern states made it difficult for blacks to vote and easy for white citizens to vote, promoting racism in the manner that they orchestrated their elections. Government targeting a demographic to increase turnout is the opposite side of the same coin as targeting a demographic to suppress the vote,” said Kline, who represents the Wisconsin Voter Alliance.
The Alliance argues that the use of the funds violates Wisconsin law prohibiting the provision of monies to election officials to induce persons to vote or influence an election outcome.
In Wisconsin, CTCL has given a total of $6.3 million in grants to the five cities concerned, according to the Alliance. About 40 percent went to support both voting-by-mail and early voting efforts, and approximately $1 million went to voter outreach and education efforts.
“This initiative by CTCL is clearly designed to provide a boost in registered voters, limited only to traditional leftist strongholds, in a critical swing state that is likely to determine the outcome of the presidential election on Nov. 3, 2020,” Kline said.
“Allowing private monies to control state spending on voter turnout is an invitation to the state to engage in partisan politics in the operation of elections. This represents a present danger to favor one class of voters at the expense of others and attempt to pick winners and losers in the election this year.”
CTCL announced Sept. 1 that Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, committed $250 million to the group, which it said it “will regrant to local election jurisdictions across the country to help ensure that they have the staffing, training, and equipment necessary so that this November every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely way and have their vote counted.”
Experts estimate that in light of the current pandemic, it will take $4 billion in funding to successfully administer 2020 elections, but to date Congress has allocated only $400 million, CTCL stated. “Sadly, election officials are not only facing unprecedented operational and budget challenges in 2020, but they are also dealing with unprecedented personal attacks and death threats that are prompting some election officials to step down.”
Election offices can use the funds to cover 2020 expenses associated with the safe administration of election responsibilities, including supporting early voting and voting-by-mail, as well as maintaining in-person polling places on Election Day and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and personal disinfectant to protect election officials and voters from the CCP virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
The Epoch Times reached out to the CTCL for a comment on the complaint filed against it, but hadn’t received a response as of press time.
The Thomas More Society enjoyed a separate, major legal victory in Wisconsin earlier this month when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that health officials in Dane County lacked the legal authority to shut down private schools to contain the spread of the CCP virus. Located in southern Wisconsin, Dane County includes the state capital of Madison.
The litigants, who challenged Dane County Emergency Order No. 9, secured a temporary injunction against the order on a 4–3 vote of the court.