While Facebook has come under fire recently for its algorithm ‘favoring conservatives‘ – which the company says is due to right-wing figures being ‘more engaging,’ founder Mark Zuckerberg has donated millions of dollars in nonprofit grant money to “quadruple the number of voting places and massively grow the number of ballots cast in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia,” according to Just the News‘ John Solomon.
The donations were revealed in documents produced by the city under a federal court order amid a lawsuit brought by the conservative Thomas More Society. According to the documents, city election officials filed an August grant request to the Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) in exchange for opening 800 polling locations which could add as many as 800,000 ballots cast in the general election.
The number of promised polling places is more than four times the 190 polling places opened during the city’s pandemic-affected primary earlier this year, and the promised turnout is estimated to be as many as 120,000 voters larger than the 2016 presidential election, which drew about 680,000 voters. About 80% of the vote went to Democrats in 2016 in the city. –Just the News
“The Office of the City Commissioners understands CTCL’s interest in maximizing the number of polling locations and will work to identify over 800 locations,” reads the city’s application seeking $10 million.
Notably, Zuckerberg donated $250 million to CTCL to help local governments cope with the logistics surrounding the November election during the pandemic – and has added another $100 million in recent days.
Thomas More Society lead counsel Phill Kline has raised the question of election interference – arguing that the grant money is wrongly privatizing a civic election function using grants that are targeting mostly Democratic strongholds.
Kline told Just the News that just $289,000 out of $63 million included in CTCL’s top 20 grants have gone to a county Trump won in 2016.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently ordered Philadelphia officials to produce records on how it applied for and won its $10 million grant, and the first records produced indicate the city is using the Zuckerberg money to compensate poll workers with “hazard pay,” including election judges who decide ballot integrity issues.
More than $5 million of the grant is allowing the city to buy equipment to process increased mail-in and absentee ballots due to COVID-19, while $3.6 million is being used to open extra “satellite election offices” for early voting and in-person voting on Election Day. –Just the News
“A voter can go to any satellite office and register to vote, if needed, request a mail-in ballot in-person, receive it, vote, and return it all at the same location,” reads the grant application, which includes drop boxes for early voting because “installing at least 15 secure, 24-hour drop boxes at each early vote location will help ensure that voters have some opportunity to return their ballots if it may be too late to send via” mail.
Read the rest of the report here.