The General Assembly of Virginia successfully passed a series of bills this week that would prohibit state and local election officials from accepting certain gifts and funding from private individuals or nongovernmental entities that would impact how elections are conducted within the Commonwealth.
Passed by both the state’s House of Delegates and Senate, HB 205 (and its companion SB 80) would mandate that “The State Board, the Department, each local electoral board, and all offices of the general registrar shall not solicit, accept, use, or dispose of any money, grants, property, or services given by a private individual or nongovernmental entity for the purpose of funding voter education and outreach programs, voter registration programs, or any other expense incurred in the conduct of elections.”
The operation of polling places and voter satellite offices in facilities supplied by private individuals or nongovernmental entities are exempt under the law, however.
Del. Otto Wachsmann Jr., who introduced the measure in the House, told The Federalist he was “pleased” the legislation has successfully passed both chambers of the General Assembly, while emphasizing how “outside entities” will no longer be able “to influence how elections are run by the state.”
“While nongovernmental groups are allowed to conduct events like voter registration drives outside of our governmental agencies, this bill clarifies that they have no business directly influencing the way that our registrars and electoral boards conduct their business,” Wachsmann said. “That is the sole role of our governmental agencies. I am pleased that the General Assembly has agreed with this concept.”
In explaining the need for the legislation, Wachsmann cited a press release from U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., which details how Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave $350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a left-wing advocacy group. CTCL spent millions on “financing the infiltration of election offices at the city and county level by left-wing activists, and using those offices as a platform to implement preferred administrative practices, voting methods, and data-sharing agreements, as well as to launch intensive outreach campaigns in areas heavy with Democratic voters” leading up to the 2020 election.
Wachsmann also noted figures from the Capital Research Center, which show CTCL spending nearly $4 million “Zuckbucks” in Virginia during the 2020 election cycle. While the report notes that CTCL distributed funds to more counties won by Trump (22 of 87) than Biden (14 of 46), over 90 percent ($3.4 million) of the organization’s funding was given to the 14 Biden-won counties, with less than 10 percent ($358,910) going towards the 22 Trump-won counties.
“This is the second-most lopsided bias in favor of Democratic-leaning counties we’ve identified (after Texas),” the report concludes.
Having officially cleared the General Assembly, the bills now head to the desk of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who previously said during Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial primary last year that he would make election integrity a “top priority.” According to Youngkin press secretary Macaulay Porter, the governor “will review the legislation when it comes to his desk.”
In addition to Virginia, numerous battleground states across the country saw Zuckbucks infiltrate their election systems during the 2020 election cycle. As detailed by Federalist Editor in Chief Mollie Hemingway in her New York Times bestselling book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections,” Zuckerberg “didn’t just help Democrats by censoring their political opponents,” his financing of “liberal groups running partisan get-out-the-vote operations” was ultimately “the means by which [Democrat] activists achieved their ‘revolution’ and changed the course of the 2020 election.”
“It was a genius plan,” writes Hemingway. “And because no one ever imagined that a coordinated operation could pull off the privatization of the election system, laws were not built to combat it.”
As of March 2022, 16 states have either banned or severely restricted the use and acceptance of private funds for state and local elections.