Wisconsin Spotlight | Sept. 2, 2020
MADISON — The face of Facebook and his wife are dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into an organization that advocates for left-of-center voting initiatives.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have committed $250 million to the Center for Tech and CIVIC Life (CTCL), to “promote safe and reliable voting in states and localities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the group. CTCL says it will re-grant funds to local election jurisdictions across the country to “help ensure that they have the staffing, training, and equipment necessary so that this November every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely way and that their vote is counted.”
The billionaires also chipped in another $50 million to the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR), “whose mission is to assist state and local election officials to ensure elections are secure, voters have confidence in election outcomes, and democracy thrives as civic engagement grows.”
“We all depend on election officials to provide safe and secure voting options to the public. Unfortunately, election departments face unprecedented challenges in 2020 due to COVID-19,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life . “This expansion of our COVID-19 Response Grant program provides our country’s election officials and poll workers with the critical resources they need to safely serve ever voter.”
The Skoll Foundation was funded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll. He’s founder of Participant, a firm that produces films such as An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore in which Gore presents what he believes to be the inevitable consequences of climate change, according to Influence Watch. The Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper in a 2103 profile wrote that Skoll “produces blockbusters that feature political or social messages,” investing in “progressive causes” and “galvanizing world opinion” through his propaganda.
The Democracy Fund “contributes to center-left and left-wing media organizations, groups seeking to infringe on campaign speech rights, left-of-center voter registration organizations, and nominally non-aligned public policy organizations,” Influence Watch reports.
CTCL hosts an annual conference for election officials and left-of-center election policy activists, according to Influence Watch. Left-leaning advocacy organizations represented at the CTCL’s 2019 conference included the Democracy Fund, League of Women Voters, Metric Geometry & Gerrymandering Group, We Vote, MapLight, Democracy Works, and the National Institute on Money in Politics.
“The center has a network of hundreds of election offices across the nation and works to train election officials. CTCL provides courses to election offices and travels to offices (for a fee of $5,000) to help local officials collect data, build websites, and develop messages to motivate voters,” Influence Watch reports.
CTCL hangs with the same left-wing groups and politicians pushing for vote-by-mail elections, and fighting against election integrity laws like voter ID.
As Empower Wisconsin reported in July, the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life handed out “free” cash — $6.3 million — to five lib Wisconsin cities to help administer elections during the pandemic.
Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine will divvy up the grant money provided, CTCL claims, to ensure “polling places are open and following public health guidelines.”