One of the most controversial "election interference" stories after the 2020 election was the "Zuckerbucks" scandal -- that liberal donors funded election efforts in blue counties to er, "enhance" their turnout. Mollie Hemingway focused on this in her book Rigged. So it's not surprising that her website The Federalist would stay on the Zuckerbuck beat as many states passed laws to prevent this kind of subsidized election meddling.
On February 21, Shawn Fleetwood at the Federalist penned an article headlined "How Georgia Became Democrats’ Test Site For Their 2024 Private Takeover Of Election Offices." On March 15, PolitiFact checker Amy Sherman pounced on the "private takeover" headline and flagged it as "False."
A Facebook post claimed that a $2 million grant for DeKalb County amounts to a "private takeover of election offices."
DeKalb documents do not show exactly how the county plans to use the Center for Tech and Civic Life’s grant. But the county can use the money for equipment; voting and office sites; and personnel.
A "takeover" suggests that the center will be in charge of elections in DeKalb; we found no evidence to back that up. Local election officials will continue to administer elections based on state laws.
We rate this statement False.
Now, Shawn Fleetwood has written another piece objecting to the "fact check."
In its latest bid to run interference for the Democrat Party, the historically dishonest, left-wing PolitiFact published a “fact-check” of a Federalist article that explores leftist nonprofits’ ploy to use private money as a means of changing local election operations to benefit Democrats....
There’s just one small problem with Sherman’s claim: Nowhere in the article does The Federalist suggest that nonprofits from the Alliance such as CTCL would be in “total control” of operating local election offices.
What's happening here is obvious. The Federalist used a provocative headline to get people to read their information. Then PolitiFact flagged the provocative headline with the intended effect of curtailing its readership.
To her credit, Sherman did report that Georgia's ban is not going to work as intended:
After the 2020 general election, about half the states passed bans on private election funding, including Georgia.
Some Republicans have decried DeKalb’s application for a new grant. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in 2021 that Georgia’s ban has "a big loophole."
"The law doesn’t ban outside donations to county governments, which could then allocate resources to their election boards. The law only affects direct payments to election offices," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
But Fleetwood objected that Sherman underlined her "False" points with quotes from a DeKalb County commissioner and from Rachel Orey of the so-called Bipartisan Policy Center.
Private funding for elections is only necessary because local and state governments and the federal government have failed to provide adequate funding for decades, said Rachel Orey, an election expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.–based think tank.
The grant to DeKalb County "is limited to covering core election infrastructure needs that benefit all voters, like election security improvements and new personnel, and in no way functions as a 'takeover' of the election office," Orey said.
As we've previously noted, Time turned to Expert Orey to help them claim (against the facts!) that Hakeem Jeffries is not an "election denier." We also noted Orey was an intern for Sen. Kamala Harris, so watch out on the "Bipartisan" thing.