Alabama Tightens Election Security by Banning “Zuckbucks”

Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law on Wednesday to prohibit state and local election officials from using private funds to conduct election operations.

The new law was passed by wide margins in the state House and Senate and is designed to prevent election officials and their staff from “soliciting, accepting, or using” donations from private persons or nongovernmental entities to pay for expenses related to elections.

The expenses that private money may not be used for include all compensation for officials, poll workers, and staff responsible for registering voters. Private money is also banned from being used to purchase voting equipment, ballots, transportation costs, or printing and mailing expenses.

Private funding is also banned from paying for training the defined election officials and workers, including “lectures, educational seminars, or events.”

Republican state Rep. Wes Allen sponsored the bill and said that it “gives notice to the world that our elections are not for sale.”

At the signing ceremony, Gov. Ivey said that the bill shows that Alabama is committed to ensuring that the integrity of elections in the state will be “second to none.” She noted that big tech has been working hard to undermine election security and the new law will help her state keep its process “air-tight.”

Alabama joins other states in taking steps to address the influence on American elections exerted by progressive advocacy groups like the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL). That organization has received as much as $400 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to inject funding into local elections in several battleground states in the 2020 elections. Alabama is believed to have received almost $2.5 million of the “Zuckbucks” in the last election cycle.

CTCL announced last week that it is initiating its U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. That program is slated to spend $80 million over the next five years to “envision, support, and celebrate excellence” in elections across the country.

CTCL executive director Tiana Epps-Johnson said that every American voter should have access to elections that are “fair and trustworthy.” She said the new initiative would bring “world-class partners” to somehow help local election officials from having to “go it alone.”

Other states are considering similar laws that could protect the 2024 election cycle if they are not put into place during this year’s midterm election season.