Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg will donate another $100 million to aid election officials around the US after an initial $300 million grant was ruled lawful by a federal judge despite warning that the money could distort the vote.
A lawsuit challenging the grant scheme in Wisconsin was struck down on Wednesday, with US District Judge William Griesbach stating that he found no legal reason to bar five major cities in the state from receiving $6.3 million from the donated funds. However, Griesbach noted in his decision that the private cash could potentially influence the outcome of the election.
The risk of skewing an election by providing additional private funding for conducting the election in certain areas of the state may be real.
“The record before the court, however, does not provide the support needed for the court to make such a determination, especially in light of the fact that over 100 additional Wisconsin municipalities received grants as well,” he added.
Initially brought by the Wisconsin Voters Alliance last month, the suit alleged Zuckerberg’s grant money was tantamount to bribery, arguing it would be used to unevenly boost voter turnout in Democratic districts across the five Wisconsin cities – Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine. Similar suits have been launched in a number of battleground states in the 2020 race, including Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Pennsylvania, where grant money is also on offer for local elections offices.