County Becomes First in Michigan to Ban Private Funding of Elections

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Livingston County, Michigan, this week became the latest jurisdiction in the country and the first in its state to ban the private funding of the administration of elections.

The move came after good-government advocates became incensed that, in 2020, a Mark Zuckerberg-funded activist group, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), flooded election offices in Democratic Party strongholds in Michigan with millions of dollars, in an apparent effort to drive up voter turnout for that party.

Critics say Zuckerberg, billionaire Facebook founder and Democrat activist, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, gave the money in an effort to influence the 2020 election.

According to the critics, the grants accomplished Zuckerberg’s goal.

In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, a Republican, beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by 10,704 votes. But in 2020, Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in the state by 154,188 votes, according to official results as reported by Ballotpedia.

Critics claim the assistance provided by CTCL to Detroit, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, and other heavily Democratic jurisdictions in the state may have put Biden over the top.

On June 13, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to ban the acceptance of unregulated monies for funding elections, a move that lawyer Erick Kaardal said would enhance election integrity.

Kaardal, a special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a nationwide public interest law firm that protects religious freedom and maintains an election integrity practice, said he provided the commissioners with an analysis of the resolution before they voted on it.

Livingston County is between Detroit and Lansing, the state capital.

The commission’s vote pushes Michigan closer toward a national movement to banish “dark money,” or political spending meant to influence voters, where the donor isn’t disclosed and the source of the money is unknown, Kaardal said.

Walworth County in nearby Wisconsin became the first local government in that state to ban the acceptance of private monies or grants for use in the administration of elections, as The Epoch Times reported.

By Matthew Vadum

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