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Cache County’s Exit From ‘Zuckbucks 2.0’ Group Puts Utah A Step Closer To Safe Elections

Cache County’s exit from the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is a ‘victory for voters in Utah and the country as a whole.’

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Cache County, Utah, has withdrawn from a left-wing dark money organization aiming to influence local election operations, The Federalist has learned.

The county’s leading election official confirmed the locality has declined to renew its membership with the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence for 2024. As The Federalist previously reported, the Alliance is an $80 million venture launched in 2022 by left-wing nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting policies in local election offices.

The Daily Signal first reported in January 2023 that Cache County had joined the coalition. The news came several months after the Alliance announced its list of 2023 participating offices in November 2022. Cache County was noticeably not included in that announcement.

During the 2020 election, CTCL and the Center for Election Innovation and Research collectively 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, such as 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 towards Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.

Utah received $295,611 in “Zuckbucks” during the 2020 contest, according to the Capital Research Center. A law prohibiting state election officials from “soliciting, accepting, or using funds donated” by private entities was signed into law by GOP Gov. Spencer Cox in March 2022.

In a Feb. 12 email obtained by The Federalist, Cache County Clerk David Benson informed the Alliance his locality “no longer desires to participate” in the coalition, noting Cache County “did not” reauthorize its membership for 2024 after its initial subscription to the program expired in December 2023. Benson further requested the Alliance remove Cache County as a participating office from its website.

“Listing our county in this manner is inaccurate and without our permission,” Benson wrote. Cache County has since been removed as a participating office from the Alliance’s website.

When pressed on why his office opted to withdraw from the Alliance, Benson told The Federalist the coalition’s membership was “a cost incurred by [his] predecessor that [he] did not think warranted renewal” and that “there was simply not enough value to justify the expense.”

2023 report published by the Honest Elections Project (HEP) and John Locke Foundation noted how the Alliance originally sought to provide election offices with “scholarships” to cover membership costs, which would then be “converted into ‘credits’ that member offices [could] use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners.” As HEP Executive Director Jason Snead noted in a previous interview with The Federalist, however, CTCL opted to shift its “original model to a fee-based membership model” as a way of skirting existing “Zuckbucks” bans.

“For jurisdictions that are permitted to receive grants, those fees are effectively waived. But jurisdictions that cannot receive private grants can still buy their way in for a relatively small sum, allowing the Alliance to spread its influence even in states where lawmakers have tried to prevent it,” Snead explained.

Cache County email to the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence by The Federalist on Scribd

Earlier this week, the office of Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, a Republican, published a “deeply troubling” report documenting alleged misconduct by Benson’s office over its handling of the state’s 2023 municipal elections. In a letter to Benson, Henderson claimed investigators “not only found an unprecedented lack of controls, widespread violations of Utah election law and administrative rule, but also a pointed disregard for policy and practices established by [the lieutenant governor’s] office.”

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Henderson’s office alleged that Cache County election officials “falsified a legally required ‘logic and accuracy test’ of the county’s elections equipment ahead of the general election.” Benson later informed state investigators “he did not conduct a second logic and accuracy test after receiving new ballot data.” Other “significant problems” highlighted in the report included “poor chain of custody practices that could have introduced numerous opportunities for bad actors to impact the county’s election results.”

While the investigation did not unearth any evidence of voter fraud, it flagged 31 problems with Cache County’s administration of the 2023 elections. Henderson’s office has since demanded Benson issue a written response and develop an “action plan” outlining how his office intends to address the issues by Feb. 20.

Speaking with The Federalist, Snead emphasized how Cache County’s exit from the Alliance “deals another major blow” to the program and represents “a victory for voters in Utah and the country as a whole.”

Roughly “a third of the original so-called ‘Centers for Election Excellence’ have now withdrawn from the Alliance over concerns about private influences on election administration and a rigorous workload,” Snead said. “The counties and cities who still remain in the Alliance ought to reconsider their membership in such a shady organization.”

Cache County’s withdrawal from the Alliance comes a month after The Federalist reported that Forsyth and Brunswick Counties in North Carolina exited the program late last year.


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