(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed legislation banning counties from soliciting or accepting donations to help cover the costs of administering elections.
Senate Bill 222 stipulates that public funds must pay for election administration costs.
The so-called “Zucker bucks” ban prohibits government employees and elections officials from accepting gifts of more than $500 from third-party groups for primaries or elections. It also makes it a felony for election officials to accept gifts, but the prohibition does not apply to accepting the use of a location for voting.
Lawmakers raised concerns after the U.S Alliance for Election Excellence awarded DeKalb County a $2 million grant. The Center for Tech and Civic Life, which has benefited from donations from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, helped launch the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence as part of an $80 million initiative.
“Honest Elections Project Action applauds Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia state legislature for further tightening the state’s prohibition on outside funding for election administration, prompted by the left-wing dark money funded Center for Tech and Civic Life attempting to evade state law to pump $2 million into DeKalb County,” Jason Snead, executive director for the Honest Elections Project Action, said in a statement.
“The private funding of election administration ultimately sows distrust in election outcomes,” Snead added. “States across the country should follow in Georgia’s footsteps by passing robust bans on private election administration funding.”
A bill state lawmakers previously passed ostensibly barred election officials from taking outside money, but counties could accept the funding and pass it along to elections officials.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor