MONTGOMERY, Ala, ( Associated Press) — Alabama lawmakers voted Thursday to ban election offices from accepting donations and grants from private organizations to help with voting operations, including voter registration, education and outreach.
If signed into law, Alabama would be the latest state to ban such donations—a movement inspired at least partly by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s skepticism of conservatives about donations in 2020. The Alabama Senate approved the bill with Republicans on a 25-7 vote. In support and Democrats opposed.
The bill now goes to the Alabama government for their consideration.
The bill calls it a misdemeanor for a public official to accept donations, grants, and donated services from an individual or non-governmental organization to help with election-related expenses or voter education, voter outreach, or voter registration programs. behavior will be made.
While Republicans argued it was needed to protect election integrity, opponents said it would hinder election administration in poorer counties and have a chilling effect on efforts to help people register and vote.
Representative Wes Allen, who is running for Secretary of State, sponsored the bill.
“Running our elections is one of the main functions of our government. We want to make sure that private money isn’t buying our machines, not buying ballots or paying our election officials’ salaries,” Allen said.
Republicans in at least eight GOP-controlled states have this year banned donations to election offices, seeking to block outside funding of voting functions.
The League of Women’s Voters of Alabama, Black Voters Matter and other groups have spoken out against the measure.
Cathy Jones, president of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, said the measure would affect “the state’s poorest and most underserved county election officials and their employees by preventing them from accepting aid in the form of grants, property or personal services.”
“This damaging HB194 bill criminalises cooperation by election officials (and activists) with local Alabama voting rights organizations across the state, which should be able to help citizens better prepare and be able to vote, Jones wrote in an email response to the bill’s passage.