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States Want a Huge Federal Top-Off to 'Zuck Bucks' for Future Elections. But They're Already Sitting on a Pile.


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Real Clear Investigations

Drawing on research from a multimillion-dollar Mark Zuckerberg-linked initiative viewed as pivotal in the 2020 presidential election, 14 states carried by Joe Biden have appealed to him for billions of dollars more to secure elections for the next decade. But most of them have spent less than half their shares of previous federal funding to counter alleged Russian election meddling and other “threats” to election security.


Strategic placement? Some conservative analysts contend Zuckerberg-tied money helped Biden win.

The states’ letter to the president cites a report by the Election Infrastructure Initiative, a progressive nonprofit that estimates $53 billion in taxpayer money will be needed to ensure election security over the next decade.  

The Election Infrastructure Initiative is an arm of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which in 2020 distributed nearly $400 million in private grants – $350 million from Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan – to local election offices in 48 states and the District of Columbia for the pandemic-challenged presidential election.

Some conservative analysts contend the money, dubbed “Zuck Bucks,” was strategic in its placement, beefing up vote totals for Biden in swing states and allowing him to win the election -- a view that found support in a Time magazine cover story on the effort. Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, did not respond to an interview request.

The 14 states seek $20 billion in federal money over the next 10 years. (Theirs is not a national estimate, unlike the Zuckerberg-linked group’s). It would pay for election administration, including security, personnel, “and other essential needs.”

While no money has yet been allocated, federal funding remains a key part of Democrat-backed “voting rights” measures that would set new voting standards for federal elections. But sitting in state coffers are hundreds of millions of dollars still left from two funding rounds of $380 million (2018) and $425 million (2020) under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).:snip:

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