Report: Milwaukee has already accepted more than $1 million in Zuckerbucks for 2024

by WorldTribune Staff, March 29, 2024

Only days ahead of a referendum before Wisconsin voters to ban private funding of election administration, the city of Milwaukee accepted more than $1 million in so-called “Zuckerbucks.”

Milwaukee, which accepted “Zuckerbucks” in 2020, has received a new form of the private funding over two separate grants, Just the News reported on March 24.

The Democrat stronghold accepted a $786,850 grant for the 2024 election from Cities Forward, a nonprofit that started last May, according to an IRS document.

In November, the Wisconsin state legislature passed a resolution to amend the state constitution to ban the private funding of election administration, which voters will decide whether to approve on April 2.

The Cities Forward grant includes funding for two new Election Systems & Software ballot tabulators at $146,375 each, a $37,500 text messaging service that would allow the city to contact registered voters and correct misinformation, 50 ExpressVote machines at $211,250 for early voting and as an accessibility aid on Election Day, and $147,000 for 210 Android smartphones for voting site directors to send photos or videos of equipment issues and more easily ask for supplies, according to Urban Milwaukee.

Cities Forward also gave the Milwaukee Election Commission and the Milwaukee Public Library a $250,000 grant for 2024 for a “non-partisan public education campaign … to increase civic connection among residents.”

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“This private funding of elections is similar to what the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) did in Wisconsin and other states in 2020,” Natalia Mittelstadt wrote for Just the News.

CTCL poured about $350 million into local elections offices managing the 2020 election, with most of the funds donated to the nonprofit by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The nonprofit has claimed its 2020 election grants were allocated, allegedly without partisan preference to make voting safer amid the pandemic.

A House Republican investigation found that less than 1% of the “Zuckerbucks” were spent on personal protective equipment. Most of the funds were focused on get-out-the-vote efforts and registrations in Democrat-heavy jurisdictions.

The Wisconsin state legislature passed bills in 2021 and 2022 that would have, respectively, regulated and banned the use of private money in election administration. Democrat Gov. Tony Evers vetoed both bills.

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