Georgia lawmakers have passed a piece of legislation that disallows county officials from requesting or accepting donations for election administration. SB 222 or “Zuckerbucks” ban, requires that public funds be used to pay for the cost of election administration. It also forbids local government staff members and election officials from accepting gifts worth more than $500 from external groups to carry out primaries or elections.
Any violation of the legislation will result in an election official being guilty of committing a felony, but the bill does not cover the receipt of a location for voting.
The lawmakers’ attention was drawn to the issue of a $2 million grant provided by the U.S Alliance for Election Excellence to DeKalb County. The Center for Tech and Civic Life, which had received funds from Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, facilitated the establishment of the U.S Alliance for Election Excellence as part of an $80 million program.
Lawmakers have hailed the new implementation, with Jason Snead, Executive Director of Honest Elections Project Action, praising the legislation’s advancement. Snead expressed his concern over the security of public trust in election administration due to private election financing, particularly when motivated by partisan interests.
Rep. Saira Draper, D-Atlanta, denied the assertion that the legislation was intended to clarify present state legislation, arguing that it’s a “demonstrably false” view. Draper then stated that “SB 222 is not a clarification of existing policy. It is an abrupt change in policy.”
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