The Governor of Arizona signed a bill Friday that forbids private funding for government elections in his state. The move is seen as a deliberate attempt to stop the CEO of Facebook and other wealthy donors from influencing elections.
Republican Governor Doug Ducey said that because confidence in the election system is still very mush at risk, the election process needs to be “pristine and above reproach” and “in the sole purview of government”.
To accomplish that, he said it was necessary to ban private funding for elections.
The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation, for example donated an estimated $400 plus million to groups that helped to fund local and state elections, including the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
The foundation has explained that the donation was designed to help ensure Covid-safe ballot centers at a time when state budgets for elections were constrained. The money also went to telling voters where they could vote and how to vote, as well as encoring them to be on a permanent early voting list. In addition, Romney was used to help recruit poll workers and combat misinformation before and after the election.
Still, Republicans argue that the use of private cash to assist with smoothing out some of the challenges for voting centers–and to help count ballots is, in fact, unconstitutional.
Proponents of the Governor’s bill say voters deserve an election process free from outside influence and partisan funding while Democrats say the funding is necessary for many poor counties that need help with election outreach.