Wyoming’s leading election official is sounding the alarm about nefarious actors’ attempts to use private money to influence election administration throughout the state.
“As Wyoming’s 23 county clerks continue to prepare for the 2024 Election, I am writing to warn and caution against any attempts made by third parties to fund the administration of elections in Wyoming,” Secretary of State Chuck Gray wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to local election officials.
In his warning to county clerks, Gray specifically highlighted ongoing efforts by the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence to use private funds as a means of influencing the electoral process. The Alliance is an $80 million venture funded by left-wing nonprofits to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting policies in local election offices. The organization is comprised of nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), two groups that poured hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg into local election offices during the 2020 election.
According to Gray, these groups could “also be used as a conduit for foreign actors to improperly influence American election administration.”
“With the ever-changing landscape of new entities pushing their agendas on elections administrators nationwide, local election officials are at a growing risk of these foreign influences should they accept funding in any way,” he wrote.
The hundreds of millions of “Zuckbucks” CTCL and CEIR dumped into local election offices in battleground states around the country during the 2020 election were ultimately used to change how elections were administered in ways that favored Democrats. Not only did the grants go toward expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and using ballot drop boxes, but they were also heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
Notably, Wyoming is one of just two states that did not appear to receive any “Zuckbucks” from CTCL during the 2020 election, with the other being West Virginia.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is attempting to replicate a similar strategy to that of 2020 ahead of the 2024 election. In a recent report, the Honest Elections Project and the John Locke Foundation revealed how the Alliance seeks to provide election offices with “scholarships” to cover membership costs, which can then be “converted into ‘credits’ that member offices can use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners.”
In the 25 states where “Zuckbucks” are banned or restricted, the Alliance uses this model to help get around the law. During a previous interview with The Federalist, Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, explained that since election offices in these states aren’t authorized to accept or use private money to conduct elections, groups like CTCL will allow interested offices to “buy their way [into the Alliance] for a relatively small sum.”
This strategy allows “the Alliance to spread its influence even in states where lawmakers have tried to prevent it,” Snead said.
Meanwhile, legislative efforts to ban private election funding in Wyoming have been unsuccessful in the state’s Republican-dominated House and Senate. A bill drafted during this year’s session that would ban the practice was never considered for introduction by the House, while a similar measure died in committee during the 2021 session.
In an effort to shore up the integrity of Wyoming’s elections ahead of the 2024 contest, Gray has reportedly asked the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee to “draft legislation addressing” the issue of private election funding and indicated in his letter to county clerks that the “bill will be discussed on August 24.”
“Should any third-party entity or organization solicit county clerks to fund election administration, please notify me immediately for further investigation,” Gray wrote.