Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have announced a $300 million donation to protect America elections. It is one of the billionaire couple’s largest-ever single gifts, meant to bolster democracy during the uncertain circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and upcoming election. It was a personal donation, and not through their joint foundation, the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative.
‘Many counties and states are strapped financially and working to determine how to staff and fund operations that will allow for ballots to be cast and counted in a timely way,’ Chan and Zuckerberg said in a statement. ‘These donations will help to provide local and state officials across the country with the resources, training and infrastructure necessary to ensure that every voter who intends to cast a ballot is able to, and ultimately, to preserve integrity of our elections.’
The majority of the gift, $250 million, will go to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit that will then regrant the money to local election officials, so they are able to recruit poll workers, supply them with personal protective equipment, and set up drive-through voting. The other $50 million will be donated to the Center for Election Innovation & Research, where it will be distributed to Secretaries of State across the U.S.
In a post about the donation, Zuckerberg also announced new measures that Facebook would be taking to safeguard the election, including making authoritative information about voting easily accessible, blocking new political ads during the final week of the campaign, extending Facebook’s work to remove misinformation about voting, limiting forwarding on Messenger, expanding voter suppression policies, and watching content about Covid-19 and voting. Though Zuckerberg’s new policies are more expansive than previously, many are still criticising Facebook for doing too little too late when it comes to protecting democracy.
Here's a thought— maybe we shouldn't depend on rich people and corporations to protect our elections. 🤔— Patriotic Millionaires (@PatrioticMills) September 6, 2020