The Facebook founder donated large sums of money to the state for the ostensible purpose to protect voters from the spread of COVID-19.
But like other suspect safety protocols, Zuckerberg’s monetary grant was used not for the promotion of safety, but for “voter education.”
“If it’s for COVID-19 specifically, one would think the money would be spent accordingly and there is evidence to suggest that PPE [personal protective equipment],” said Trevor Carlsen, senior research fellow for the Foundation for Government Accountability. “And there were things that seemingly were not efforts to protect against the spread of COVID-19, [suggesting] that the money was spent beyond that initial scope.”
Five million of those dollars were directed to Arizona, which turned out to be a crucial state in the 2020 election.
More than half of that money was directed to Maricopa County, by far Arizona’s most populous, the Foundation for Government Accountability reported.
“Trump was able to increase his vote total by almost 250,000 votes [in Maricopa County], but miraculously, Biden was able to exceed Clinton’s performance by 337,000 or so,” Carlsen said. “That was enough to make up the difference.”
According to the official election results, Joe Biden won five of Arizona’s 15 counties, garnering 49.4% of the state’s total vote.
Then-President Donald Trump won 10 counties and received 49.1% of the total vote.
As a recipient of Zuckerberg’s grant, Maricopa County took a much greater swing in Democrat voter turnout than other Arizona counties that received minimal funding.
“It’s an interesting comparison when you look at the five counties,” Carlsen said. “[F]our of which got the money and one that didn’t, how Democratic turnout fared.”