National: Courts rule election money from Facebook founder will stay despite conservative attempts to reverse it | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post
Federal judges have so far declined to halt $400 million in grants to city and county election administrators from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, despite a conservative law firm’s efforts to overturn them. The grants from the Facebook founder and his wife, delivered by the nonprofit Center for Technology and Civic Life, are aimed at helping cash-strapped counties hire more poll workers, provide personal protective equipment and manage a surge in mail voting during the pandemic. Lawyers for the Thomas More Society don’t object to those goals, but they argued the grants were strategically awarded to boost voter turnout in urban centers and Democratic strongholds and to disadvantage Republicans. But federal judges have declined to halt the funding to counties in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa and South Carolina, saying they see no partisan tilt in the grants, which were also given to many rural and Republican counties. CTCL delivered the grants to more than 2,300 election departments using a formula that links funding to the district’s voting population. “The truth is that plaintiffs — like all residents of the counties — stand to benefit from the additional resources for safe and efficient voting provided by CTCL grants,” Judge Amos L. Mazzant III noted in denying an injunction on grants to counties that include the cities of Houston and Dallas.