Arizona governor signs bill forbidding private donations for election operations after Zuckerberg donated millions for 2020 election

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Arizona governor signs bill forbidding private donations for election operations after Zuckerberg donated millions for 2020 election

By Emma Colton | The Washington Examiner| April 11, 2021 |

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law that forbids private funding for government election processes in the state.

“With public confidence in our elections in peril, it’s clear our elections must be pristine and above reproach — and the sole purview of government,” Ducey said in a signing letter.

Ducey’s announcement comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $419 million to two nonprofit groups, including the Center for Election Innovation and Research, that helped fund local and state election administration ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The funds were slammed by conservatives and resulted in lawsuits that argued federal law prevents local governments from accepting private donations for such initiatives.

The couple said at the time of the announcement that “many counties and states are strapped financially and working to determine how to staff and fund operations that will allow for ballots to be cast and counted in a timely way.”

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs used $4.8 million from the Center for Election Innovation and Research for voting causes both ahead and after the 2020 election.

Democrats in the state blamed the underfunding of election administration on Republicans, with one Democratic lawmaker saying the state put itself in the situation of accepting funds from Zuckerberg.

“It’s easy to make a boogeyman ou[t] of billionaires. I don’t like them either. But we put ourselves in this situation,” state Sen. Juan Mendez, a Tempe Democrat, said. “Our elections are so underfunded we’ve got counties out there asking for money to do voter outreach.”

The bill passed along party lines in both the Arizona Senate and House, and the governor signed it into law on Friday.

“Gov. Doug Ducey stood up for all Arizonans by taking swift action and signing this historic election integrity law. HB 2569 is another in a series of strong measures Arizona lawmakers have taken to protect election integrity and keep the influence of private money out of Arizona’s election system operations. Arizonans deserve an election process free from outside influence and partisan funding — by banning corporate and private funding for election operations, this law will safeguard that system,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said.

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