Bill Passed by Florida State Legislature Prohibits Private Funding of Election Administration

Employees of Miami-Dade Elections Department scan the votes for counting during Florida Primary Election amid the coronavirus pandemic, at Miami-Dade Elections Department in Miami, Florida on August 18, 2020. - In Miami-Dade, voters are casting ballots to elect Miami-Dade's mayor, School Board seats, Miami-Dade state attorney and Judges. The polling …
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

A comprehensive election integrity bill passed by the Florida State Legislature on Thursday prohibits the private funding of election administration in the state.

Senate Bill 90 creates Section 97.0291 of Florida Statutes for the “Prohibition on use of private funds for election207 related expenses,” and states:

No agency or state or local official responsible for conducting elections, including, but not limited to, a supervisor of elections, may solicit, accept, use, or dispose of any donation in the form of money, grants, property, or personal services from an individual or a nongovernmental entity for the purpose of funding election-related expenses or voter education, voter outreach, or registration programs.

This section does not prohibit the donation and acceptance of space to be used for a polling room or an early voting site.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is expected to sign the bill into law.

Upon DeSantis’s signature, Florida will become the fourth state in 2021 to pass legislation designed to prohibit the private funding of election administration, joining Arizona, Idaho and Georgia.

Republican state legislators have pushed to enact election integrity laws that ban the private funding of election administration because of the controversies surrounding the use of such funds in the 2020 general election, as Breitbart News reported:

Private funding of election administration was virtually unknown in the American political system until the 2020 presidential election, when Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $350 million to the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), which provided funding to county and municipal governments around the country for election administration, and $69 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), which provided funding to 23 state governments, primarily through the Secretary of State’s office, also for the funding of election administration.

Phill Kline, executive director of The Amistad Project of The Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm, has praised the Arizona law, while panning the Idaho and Georgia laws.

“The law fails in that it actually allows exactly what occurred in 2020, creating a two-tiered election system favoring one voter demographic over the other. In 2020 all of this private money flowed through city and county local appropriations, or through the Secretary of State in several states,”  Kline told Breitbart News about the Idaho law.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, Kline delivered the following assessments of the Georgia and Arizona laws:

Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, signed into law by Gov. Kemp in March, included a clause designed to ban the private funding of election administration, but the Amistad Project’s Phill Kline believes that law  [contains] loopholes.

Kline has praised the simple one sentence language of Arizona’s new law–“Notwithstanding any other law, this state and a city, town, county, school district or other public body that conducts or administers elections may not receive or expend private monies for preparing for, administering or conducting an election, including registering voters” — as the gold standard and model for other states that seek to ban the private funding of election administration.

The Texas State Legislature is currently considering legislation on the private funding of election administration that Kline says, “is an interesting approach which involves the legislative branch and creates transparency. It is a good step.”

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