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Why PA Doesn’t Give a Zuckbuck

The midterm elections are less than four months away and Republicans are active in passing laws to stop the Democrats from stealing the elections via bribing election officials. Banning the use of “Zuckbucks” is a key focus of these safeguards.

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Republican-led house legislature passed the bill SB 982 that bans election officials from accepting or using funds from non-government entities for conducting elections. The Federalist wrote (July 14, 2022) that Pennsylvania banned “Zuckbucks,” referring to the more than $400 million that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave to election officials using some non-government organizations to help democrats win the 2020 election.

The latest update by DC-based Capital Research Center on the issue of election integrity informs on the measures at county and state levels to ban non-government funding of elections. The updates show how Democrats are actively involved in countering the Republican efforts toward election integrity. Wisconsin’s Democrat governor Tony Evers, for example, has vetoed Republican legislation on outside election funding twice, once in summer 2021 and later in Spring 2022. Democrat governors in four other states – Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina – have also vetoed proposed bans on funding of elections from outside.

Pennsylvania’s governor Tom Wolf, while vetoing an election integrity bill last year, signed SB 982 into law last week.  The Federalist expressed surprise that he did so, given the active involvement of his office in securing Zuckbucks for the elections in 2020. Could the devil be in the details of the new legislation? 

According to the new bill, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development can distribute grants to counties for the administration of elections. Among other things, these funds can go to hire staff needed to “pre-canvass and canvass mail-in ballots and absentee ballots.” How secure such ballots will be during the midterm is difficult to predict at this stage.

On their end, Democrats are closely watching the election integrity measures in red states. Southernminn.com reported how some frown on the new criminal penalties targeting election officials. These penalties have been introduced predominantly in red states:

Of the 35 new penalties, 31 were enacted in Republican-controlled states.

Liberals critical of these penalties claim they create a “toxic environment” for election officials and amount to their harassment. Some even chose to quit in protest or out of concern, such as Iowa’s Scott County auditor Roxanna Mortiz, who resigned last year soon after the state passed the law that criminalizes election officials who fail to perform their duties.

To date, more than 20 states have passed election integrity laws that either ban or restrict private funding of elections.

Written by Ernest Dempsey

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