In September 2020, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to “boost resources for local election officials, such as additional polling places and ballot drop boxes,” according to Fox News. As noted by Fox, critics argued that the funds from the left-leaning couple were intended to help Democratic candidates as the money was primarily used in battleground states in heavily Democrat areas.
Last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) responded to those concerns, signing a bill that bans the private funding of election operations, the Washington Examiner reported.
“With public confidence in our elections in peril, it’s clear our elections must be pristine and above reproach — and the sole purview of government,” Ducey wrote in a signing letter.
Ducey’s decision was applauded by many on the right, including Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson, who praised his “taking swift action and signing this historic election integrity law.”
“HB 2569 is another in a series of strong measures Arizona lawmakers have taken to protect election integrity and keep the influence of private money out of Arizona’s election system operations,” Anderson said, according to the Examiner.
“Arizonans deserve an election process free from outside influence and partisan funding — by banning corporate and private funding for election operations, this law will safeguard that system,” she added.
Republican state Sen. J.D. Mesnard was supportive as well, contending that election funding from private groups “makes dark money look like a bright day,” according to the Associated Press.
Mesnard insisted that lawmakers “should be proactively stopping that before it becomes embedded in America’s election system.”
Arizona secretary of state slams law
However, as the AP noted, not everyone is a fan of the new law. Detractors include Democratic state Sen. Juan Mendez, who claimed that it will leave localities short on resources.
“It’s easy to make a boogeyman our of billionaires,” the Tempe Democrat said. “I don’t like them either. But we put ourselves in this situation.” He added, “Our elections are so underfunded we’ve got counties out there asking for money to do voter outreach.”
Another critic is Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who said she was “deeply disappointed” that Ducey “has preferred to satisfy the conspiracy theorists within his own party instead of taking a stand.”
Ducey has promised to work with the legislature to ensure that election officials are properly equipped, the AP reported.