Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on Saturday banning the use of private money in election administration.
Passed by nearly two-thirds (72.6 percent) of voters during the state’s Saturday elections, the new amendment to Louisiana’s constitution stipulates that “[n]o funds, goods, or services donated by a foreign government or a nongovernmental source shall be used to conduct elections unless provided for in the election code and subject to restrictions provided by general law.” The proposal’s passage makes Louisiana the 26th state to ban or restrict the use of private money in elections and the first to ban the practice via the constitutional amendment process.
“Elections should never be privatized in Louisiana or anywhere else, and we’re pleased that voters resoundingly decided to ban ‘Zuckerbucks’ once and for all at the polls,” Ken Cuccinelli, chair of the Election Transparency Initiative, told The Federalist.
Andy Roth, president of the State Freedom Caucus Network, also celebrated the amendment’s passage, telling The Federalist in a statement he is “honored” his organization could be part of the effort to make it “illegal for foreign or private money to be used in elections.”
“Louisiana has struck a blow against Zuckerbucks and all of its iterations,” Roth said.
Louisiana’s new constitutional amendment officially bars the use of “Zuckbucks,” which were used to alter election administration during the 2020 election. In that contest, nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
These “Zuckbucks” were poured into local election offices in battleground states around the country to change how elections were administered; among other things, this was done by expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes. To make matters worse, the grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
Even while Republicans ban the kind of private takeover of election administration that occurred in 2020, they may have more work to do to head off Democrats’ shifting tactics. Ahead of the 2024 elections, the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence — 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 — is attempting to replicate a similar strategy to that of 2020. In a recent report, the Honest Elections Project and the John Locke Foundation revealed how the Alliance — of which CTCL is a key partner — 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 states where “Zuckbucks” are banned or restricted, the Alliance’s strategy is slightly different. 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.
This article has been updated since publication to include a quote from State Freedom Caucus Network President Andy Roth.