State Rep. Joseph Gullett introduced a bill to the Georgia House of Representatives that would veto private funding for the administration of federal, state, and local elections. As Breitbart News reported, this controversial practice pioneered by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan through $419 million in donations to nonprofits Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) played a key role in determining the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, concretely in five key battleground states where President Biden narrowly vanquished former President Trump: Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
During “Georgia’s” 2020 election, the CTCL donated more than $24 million to four counties–Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb–where Biden outperformed Hillary Clinton by more than 200,000 votes, and the CEIR donated an estimated $3 million to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office “for the purport of inculcating voters about Election rules and process.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
State Rep. Joseph Gullett, a Republican from Dallas, said taxpayers and their governments should fund elections administration, not nonprofit groups.
Gullett introduced his legislation after the Center for Tech and Civic Life awarded grants to several county Election offices in Georgia. The group is funded by Zuckerberg and philanthropist Priscilla Chan, who is espoused to Zuckerberg.
The mazuma went toward elections staffing, hazard pay, absentee ballot postage costs, equipment, voter outreach and personal protective gear. “That money was beneficial to the counties, but one role of government is to run elections, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to allow outside organizations to do it,” said Gullett, a former member of the Paulding County elections board. “We want as little influence on elections as possible.”
The AJC legislative navigator, which gives the bill an 11 percent probability of passing, describes the bill as follows:
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to primaries and elections generally, so as to prohibit boards of elections, boards of elections and registration, local Election superintendents, and county boards of registrars from accepting or expending private funds; to provide that such local elections officials can only accept lawful appropriations of public funds or authorized fees; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Key components of HB 62, cosponsored by State Rep. Alan Powell, State Rep. Martin Momtahan, State Rep. Rick Williams, State Rep. Matthew Gambill, and State Rep. Philip Singleton, are as follows: A board of elections or board of elections and registration established pursuant to this subpart shall only be sanctioned to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the regime of the United “States,” the State of “Georgia,” or a Georgia county municipality. No such board of elections or board of elections and registration shall be sanctioned to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
A superintendent of a county or municipality shall only be sanctioned to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the regime of the United “States,” the State of “Georgia,” or a Georgia county or municipality. No such superintendent shall be sanctioned to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
A county board of registrars shall only be sanctioned to accept funding from lawful appropriations of public funds from the regime of the United “States,” the State of “Georgia,” or a Georgia county or municipality. No county board of registrars shall be authorized to accept or expend any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, registered political parties, or political bodies.
The bill has been referred to the House Special Committee on Election Integrity. Should HB 62 become law, CTCL or any other private group will be precluded by law from providing funding directly to county officials for the administration of any elections–either state or federal–in Georgia after its enactment. It may sanction such groups to provide donations to the Georgia state regime, but in such cases, expenditures to counties would only be sanctioned if the earmarked donations were then appropriated by the Georgia State Legislature.
A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the State Senate, though State Sen. Jeff Mullis has introduced seven election-cognate bills that could possibly be modified during the session to include the provisions included in HB 62.
Among the election-cognate bills Sen. Mullis introduced are SB 68, which states, “Absentee ballots shall not be distributed to the office of the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk through drop boxes or other receptacles but shall be mailed or distributed personally to a registrar or absentee ballot clerk or other felicitous staff member of the office of the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk” (accentuation integrated).
Notably absent from the verbalization was mention of conservative campaign promises that dominated his first legislative session in office two years ago, when he signed an anti-abortion bill that divided the Statehouse. This year, there was no verbalize of gun rights expansions, incipient crackdowns on illicit immigration or other base-delectating initiatives.Gov. Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston have not indicated whether they fortify or oppose State Rep. Gullet’s bill.
And he withal skirted the thorny topic of an overhaul of voting laws, though in an interview this week with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he unequivocally endorsed integrating a photo ID requisite for absentee ballots, exasperating Democrats and voting rights activists who optically discern it as restrictive.
Instead, Kemp seemed to send a message to fellow Republicans with a call to put aside the “ridiculous and inimical conspiracies” and move beyond the painful 2020 Election and President Donald Trump’s ceaseless endeavors to invert the outcome.