Louisiana House Passes Bill to Ban Private Funding of Election Administration

A person gets an "I Voted" sticker during a runoff election for Louisiana Governor at a polling station at Quitman High School on November 16, 2019 in Quitman, Louisiana. The October primary election saw no candidate receive an absolute majority of the vote so a runoff election was held between …
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The Republican-controlled Louisiana House of Representatives voted 69 to 35 on Tuesday to ban the private funding of election administration in the state. The bill now goes to the Louisiana State Senate for consideration.

Several states, including Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho have recently enacted laws to ban the private funding of election administration. The Florida State Legislature passed a bill banning the private funding of election administration last week, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is expected to sign that bill into law this week.

The language of House Bill 20, the bill passed on Tuesday by the Louisiana House, most closely resembles the language of the recently enacted Arizona law, which Phill Kline, executive director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm, says is by far the strongest of the laws enacted so far in 2021 to ban the private funding of election administration:

No state or local official, including but not limited to a registrar of voters or a clerk of court, or agency responsible for conducting elections shall solicit, accept, use, or dispose of any donation in the form of money, grants, property, or personal services from individuals or profit or nonprofit corporations, for the purpose of paying costs related to conducting elections.

“This appears to be a complete prohibition for all government entities. If so, it is the most broad and encompassing legislation yet passed, indicating that the Louisiana legislature understands the danger of private interests managing US elections,” Kline told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

As Breitbart News reported in December:

A report released by the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society at a press conference on Wednesday alleged Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife made $419.5 million in contributions to non-profit organizations during the 2020 election cycle–$350 million to the “Safe Elections” Project of the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and another $69.5 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research–that, “improperly influence[d] the 2020 presidential election on behalf of one particular candidate and party.”

“The 2020 presidential election witnessed an unprecedented and coordinated public-private partnership to improperly influence the 2020 presidential election on behalf of one particular candidate and party. Funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other high-tech interests, activist organizations created a two-tiered election system that treated voters differently depending on whether they lived in Democrat or Republican strongholds,” Amistad Project Director Phill Kline wrote in the report’s executive summary.

New Orleans City Business reported in October, “The nonprofit handing out the money across the nation, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, said 26 election officials across Louisiana applied for grants, with a total potential amount of about $7.8 million. Now, all those applications have been withdrawn after [Louisiana Attorney General] Landry’s intervention.”

Republicans have a 27 to 12 majority in the Louisiana State Senate.

Should the State Senate also pass HB 20, it will go to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) for his signature. If Gov. Edwards follows the example of his fellow Democrat governor in Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly (D-KS), who vetoed similar legislation passed last month by the Kansas State Legislature, it will go back to the Louisiana State Legislature for a potential override.

Louisiana requires a two-thirds majority in each house to override a governor’s veto. Republicans have one vote more than the 26 required in the 39-member State Senate to reach a two-thirds majority, but are three votes shy of the 70 required in the 105 member State House to reach a two-thirds majority. However, the two Independents in the House voted along with the 67 Republicans to achieve the 69 votes for the bill’s passage.

One seat in the Louisiana House representing the 82nd District is currently vacant, but Republican Laurie Schlegel won the April 24 special election to fill that seat. State Representative-elect Schlegel has not yet been sworn in, but that swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place May 10, after the Secretary of State has certified the election. After her swearing in, Schlegel will likely represent the critical 70th House vote needed to override a potential veto of HB 20 by Gov. Edwards.

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