Ban proposed on outside funding to run elections in Georgia

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

A bill introduced in the Georgia House would stop organizations from donating money to help run elections after a group backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave millions of dollars last year.

State Rep. Joseph Gullett, a Republican from Dallas, said taxpayers and their governments should fund elections administration, not nonprofit groups.

Gullett introduced his legislation after the Center for Tech and Civic Life awarded grants to several county election offices in Georgia. The group is funded by Zuckerberg and philanthropist Priscilla Chan, who is married to Zuckerberg.

The money went toward elections staffing, hazard pay, absentee ballot postage costs, equipment, voter outreach and personal protective gear.

“That money was beneficial to the counties, but one role of government is to run elections, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to allow outside organizations to do it,” said Gullett, a former member of the Paulding County elections board. “We want as little influence on elections as possible.”

The Center for Tech and Civic Life didn’t respond to email and phone messages seeking comment about the legislation, House Bill 62.

The organization gave $9.4 million to DeKalb County, $6 million to Fulton County, $4.2 million to Gwinnett County, nearly $1.7 million to Douglas County, $765,000 to Cherokee County and $360,000 to Paulding County.