Updated Nov. 13, 2022: Clarified that Pennsylvania Senate Bill 982 relates to election administration funding, not political campaigns
Pennsylvania just banned officials from taking and using funds from nongovernmental (or outside) entities to manage elections.
Why was this necessary? Nongovernmental money dramatically influenced the 2020 election. Outside organizations with partisan goals funneled millions of dollars into battleground states to influence elections.
Zuckerberg is the most prominent example. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg funded a nonprofit with almost 400 million dollars. After calculating what battleground states were needed for Biden, the organization flooded those areas with millions of dollars to get their desired result. In some districts, more voting machines were bought to prevent lines. Other districts had serious voter outreach efforts to get Democrats to vote.
Pennsylvania wants to ensure this doesn’t happen again during midterms or 2024. The recent bill bans election officials from receiving money from anyone outside of the state government and using those funds to register voters and conduct elections.
- Another aspect of the bill introduced an “election integrity grant program,” which allows the state to give counties more funding for staff, physical security, transparency, and processing of voter registrations.
Are other states taking similar action? As of now, more than 20 states, including Arizona, Florida, and Texas, have passed laws banning officials’ use of private funds throughout elections.