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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2023

State elections officials are investigating DeKalb County’s illegal 2023 grant first urged in ETI’s February 7 memo

Washington, D.C. Last night Georgia’s Senate Ethics Committee agreed to S.B. 222, anti-corruption legislation which would help enforce the state’s existing ban on the private financing of local election offices by ideological groups, corporations, Big Tech companies, and possible foreign interlopers. The bill, which was prompted after the scheme resurfaced this year in DeKalb County, now goes to the Rules Committee for further consideration.

Now, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and a coalition of left-wing organizations are attempting to circumvent Georgia law through the newly formed front group, the deceptively-named U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. The “Alliance” is designed to systematically influence every aspect of election administration, offering local election offices an extensive portfolio of grants, trainings, resources, and consulting services. Just recently, in a brazen act of lawlessness and defiance, it was announced that the Alliance selected DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections for an initial grant award of $2 million.

Learn how Dekalb County officials secretly submitted its 2023 grant application to circumvent the law and avoid punishment, keeping it hidden from the board for the next 9 months.

On February 7, 2023, the Election Transparency Initiative issued an initial call for investigative and legislative action to address the Alliance’s illegal DeKalb county grant. In the memo, which was addressed to Attorney General Chris Carr, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, State Election Board Chair William Duffey, the General Assembly, and others, ETI requested immediate oversight and accountability to avert repeat privatization of Georgia’s elections.

Fox News recently reported that there is “an active investigation at the direction of the State Elections Board,” citing a Raffensperger spokesman. The Georgia State Election Board also confirmed that an investigator has been assigned.

DeKalb county’s recent acceptance of the private funds “is a violation of S.B. 202 … The legislative intent of S.B. 202 was to preclude any outside organizations from sending, directly, money to counties for election purposes,” Raffensperger said.

National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:

“Chairman Max Burns should be applauded for introducing this critical anti-corruption legislation and moving it expeditiously through his committee. We now urge the Senate’s full support and to waste no time slamming the door on Big Tech’s illegal incursion into Georgia.

“The reality is that the Alliance’s private ‘grants’ are a way to buy-off local election offices in exchange for access to proprietary non-public data, records, and other information—such as poll books, voting software, equipment and more. Their goal is to manipulate the official voting apparatus and systematically push liberal voting policies into local election offices for the purpose of partisan voter turnout. This impacts not only the way an election is conducted, but also its outcome. If not curtailed, disenfranchised voters will continue to question the legitimacy and accuracy of our elections and doubt whether they were conducted with fairness and honesty. Every election law should be adhered to as written, and everyone should play by the same set of rules. That is the certainty voters deserve.

“As we’ve seen, counties, municipalities and townships around the country can and should decline these private funds by passing resolutions prohibiting their use.”

Election officials from Michigan, Connecticut, and North Carolina counties have recently chosen not to accept funds from the Alliance.

According to a recent watchdog report published by the Honest Elections Project and The John Locke Foundation, the Alliance has been intentionally structured to thwart oversight and accountability, and ultimately to get around the “Election Integrity Act of 2021”:

Membership and grant agreements…reveal an unusual and complex structure that seems designed to thwart meaningful oversight and accountability. For instance, after the Alliance had recruited its first cohort of members it announced plans to begin charging offices to join. However, the Alliance also created ‘scholarships’ to cover those membership costs, which are instantly converted into ‘credits’ that member offices can use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners. As a result, offices receive access to funds they can spend exclusively on services provided by left-wing companies and nonprofits, entirely outside normal public funding channels.

In 2021, Governor Kemp and the General Assembly enacted the “Election Integrity Act of 2021” (S.B. 202), comprehensive election integrity legislation which prohibits local election officials from accepting private non-public monies. The move came after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits, including CTCL, which then funneled that money to thousands of election jurisdictions in 48 states and Washington, D.C. under the guise of “election administration” during the 2020 election cycle.

Commonly referred to as “Zuckerbucks,” the funds from CTCL and their coalition allies were strategically directed into Democrat-leaning jurisdictions at a rate of 2:1 during the 2020 cycle. In fact, Georgia was one of the biggest recipients of these funds, ultimately receiving one of the largest allocations in the nation at more than $45 million, despite the state accounting for just 3.2 percent of the nation’s population.

On February 17, 2023, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) filed a complaint with the Georgia State Election Board regarding DeKalb County’s solicitation and acceptance of the Alliance’s illegal $2 million grant.

RITE’s complaint argues that “[s]uch evasion undermines democratic self-governance as reflected in Georgia’s duly enacted laws and erodes public trust and confidence in our elections. It is patently unlawful, and it cannot be allowed to succeed.”

The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between the American Principles Project (APP) and Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America was organized to combat federal H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 legislation and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.

Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Chiu