Florida became the fifth state in 2021 to enact a law prohibiting the private funding of election administration on Thursday after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed a comprehensive election integrity bill into law with a clear and enforceable ban on the controversial practice.
The Sunshine State joins Georgia, Arizona, Idaho, and Louisiana, all of whom have enacted similar laws this year. The state legislatures in several other states, including Texas, are in the final steps of passing their own legislation banning such private funding of election administration.
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.
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.
Zuckerberg-funded non-profits spent millions of dollars in the 2020 presidential election to privately fund election administration at both the county and state level in several key battleground states, including Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Florida.
Critics claim President Biden’s narrow victories over former President Trump in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada were aided by these Zuckerberg-funded non-profits, who, they argue, functioned as, in effect, Democratic GOTV operatives.
Though former President Trump defeated President Biden by a narrow margin in Florida in 2020, both of the Zuckerberg-funded non-profits provided grants at the county, municipal and state levels in the state.
The Foundation for Government Accountability reported in February “CTCL funneled more than $7 million into roughly 16 percent of Florida’s counties—and 80 percent of Florida counties with a population of more than one million.” That CTCL funding went to 12 Florida counties in 2020, including Broward, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, and Palm Beach.
The CEIR provided a modest $287,474 grant to the state of Florida, a marked contrast to the $5.6 million it spent in Georgia, $11 million in Michigan, and $13 million in Pennsylvania.
Under the newly enacted law, neither the CTCL nor the CEIR will be able to provide such grants to any state, county, or municipal entity in Florida for any subsequent election in the state.