A bill to stop private money from funding elections operations narrowly passed in the Senate on Monday, and is on its way to the governor’s desk.
Bill supporters, like Sen. Shawn Vedaa, say outside money could influence elections, and counties already have enough funds.
Those opposed to the bill expressed concern the law could go too far, by preventing a group from donating lunches to poll workers, for instance. Vedaa says the bill became necessary after Facebook offered millions in election administration grants to states ahead of the 2020 election.
“This bill became necessary because of ‘Zuckbucks,'” Vedaa said. “That’s the nickname that was given because a social media founder gave about 400-million dollars in grant dollars to counties nationwide. 42 counties in North Dakota received funds to be used for the presidential election. Questions arise, could strings be attached to these dollars?”
The Secretary of State’s office weighed in on the bill in committee, saying it generally opposes private money in elections, but not always. In 2020, Anheuser-Busch offered sanitizer to each state for elections, which the Secretary of State’s office said it did not accept for logistical reasons.