Michigan County Joins Ban on Private Funding of Elections


Livingston County, Michigan, this week became the latest jurisdiction in the country and the first in its state to ban the private funding of the administration of elections.

The move came after good-government advocates became incensed that a Mark Zuckerberg-funded activist group, the left-wing Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), flooded election offices in Democratic Party strongholds in Michigan with millions of dollars in an apparent effort to drive up voter turnout for that party in 2020.

Critics say Zuckerberg, the billionaire Facebook founder and Democrat activist, along his wife Priscilla Chan, gave the money in an effort to influence the 2020 election.

According to critics, the grants accomplished Zuckerberg’s goal.

In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, a Republican, beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by 10,704 votes. But in 2020, Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in the state by 154,188 votes, according to official results as reported by Ballotpedia.

Critics claim the assistance provided by CTCL to Detroit, Benton Harbor, Muskegon and other heavily Democratic jurisdictions in the state may have put Biden over the top.

On June 13, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to ban the acceptance of unregulated monies for funding elections, a move that lawyer Erick Kaardal said will enhance election integrity.

Kaardal, a special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a nationwide public interest law firm that protects religious freedom and maintains an election integrity practice, said he provided the commissioners with an analysis of the resolution before they voted on it.

Livingston County is between Detroit and the state capital Lansing.

The commission’s vote pushes Michigan closer toward a national movement to banish “dark money,” or political spending meant to influence voters, where the donor is not disclosed, and the source of the money is unknown, he said.

Walworth County in nearby Wisconsin became the first local government in that state to ban the acceptance of private monies or grants for use in the administration of elections, as The Epoch Times reported.

“In the last 18 months, 20 states have enacted laws banning private money to administer public elections,” Kaardal said in a statement in which he identified Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona, as among those now with such laws in effect.

He added that legislatures in another six states have passed such legislation but governors vetoed it.

“This is a win for the voters of Livingston County and will hopefully lead the way for other local governments to optimize election integrity in their regions,” Kaardal said.

“When there is an absence of any insistence on election integrity from the top, it is incumbent upon counties and municipalities to protect the right of voters entrusted to them.”

“Because Michigan’s executive branch has been unwilling to bar private money from entering the elections, the burden has fallen upon cities and counties to protect themselves from outside interference by illegal money sources,” Kaardal said.

“The people understand that the right to vote is a cornerstone of a free society and that the biased intervention of those who influence the outcome with their dirty dollars is not to be tolerated.”

The Epoch Times reached out for comment to CTCL but had not received a reply as of press time.

Matthew Vadum

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Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist and a recognized expert in left-wing activism.



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