Missouri’s Boone County has joined a liberal dark money-linked election organization one watchdog says is aimed at advancing “left-wing voting policies.”
Likely unbeknownst to county voters, Boone County clerk Brianna Lennon has paid a membership fee of $1,600 to the so-called U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence – “an $80 million left-wing initiative launched to target local election offices and systematically influence every aspect of their operations while pushing left-wing voting policies,” according to the Honest Elections Project (HEP).
HEP, a nonpartisan organization advancing election integrity policies at the state and federal level, describes the Alliance for Election Excellence as “a coalition of left-wing nonprofits and likeminded companies led by the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).”
CTCL, says HEP, “is the same group that recently sent $2 million into DeKalb County, Ga., evading that state’s private funding ban, prompting a state investigation. Greenwich, (Connecticut) has erupted in a public debate over whether its election office should join the Alliance.
“Ottawa County (Michigan) withdrew from the program citing concerns about the group’s use of private funds from donors who may have financial or other stakes in the outcomes of elections.”
The Alliance for Election Excellence allows local election offices to apply their membership fees to such things as website design, help with training for staff and poll workers, and “coaching and consulting” services provided by Alliance “partners.” The membership form says collaborations between the Alliance and its members will lead to “the creation of Values and Standards for Election Excellence” in elections.
That, says HEP Executive Director Jason Snead, is the Trojan horse that should concern Boone County voters.
“Every one of the organizations that is part of the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence – from CTCL, Center for Tech and Civic Life, to the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, the Institute for Responsive Government and so forth – they all are on the left,” Snead tells The Heartlander. “They are funded by, or created by, some of the largest left-wing dark money organizations.”
The trail leads back to left-wing consultants Arabella Advisors, part of a far-left dark money network with ties to George Soros.
“One of their funds has two organizations that are part of (the Alliance), and they all – whether you’re talking about the companies or the nonprofits – have ties through their staff to Democratic Party politics, to partisan campaigns, and so forth,” Snead says. “So there is a deep, deep connection to left-wing politics and left-wing programs, and it permeates the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence.”
One of the groups involved, the Institute for Responsive Government, ranks states according to their “pro-voter” or “anti-voter” policies – but Snead says it’s done from a left-wing perspective.
“Of course, the things they rank as anti-voter are voter identification laws, list maintenance processes, and even attempts to restrict private funding.”
Conversely, he notes, the Alliance promotes election office website templates that “tend to prioritize things like mail voting, early voting, getting on permanent early voter lists, things like that – while deprioritizing information about voting on Election Day.”
It’s legendary that early voting appeals more to Democrat voters than Republican voters.
“Even when you’re doing something that appears to be nominally nonpartisan or facially just neutral, we have to keep in mind the provenance of (the Alliance) all directs back to the left, and they’ve all got an agenda – and they are very open about pushing it.”
When the Alliance began, it had the earmarks of a harmless trade organization in which local election officials could learn and improve their operations. But the mission soon seemed to grow, Snead says.
“Then it was kind of sold to election offices as a collaborative membership program that would be sort of a recognition of excellence. And as you might imagine, a lot of election officials are eager to have those sorts of awards and certifications. That’s how it was presented to them.
“And then there was a pivot in the language of the Alliance’s representatives to a new program that would allow you to buy your way in – and you would be expected to give access to data and information about how your office functions. You would be expected to give time and other in-kind contributions back to the Alliance, helping them develop and refine their programming, attending conferences and so forth, and helping to expand the network as well.
“And then out of the blue, in a lot of these cases, offices started getting offered huge grants. We actually have emails in Greenwich, Connecticut, for instance, where they were offered $500,000. They did not know that this was coming. They did not ask for a grant. They did not know grants were part of the program.”
According to HEP, Ottawa County, Michigan, the one that has since withdrawn from the Alliance, was offered $1.5 million in grant money. Clark County, Nevada, was offered $3 million. DeKalb County, Georgia, was allocated $2 million, despite the state’s ban on private election funding.
Snead says Greenwich, Connecticut, which was offered $500,000, may vote Monday to withdraw from the Alliance.
The Heartlander asked Boone County clerk Lennon if she is aware of the dark-money left-wing ties of the Alliance – and if she intends to stay in it. As of publication, she has not responded.
Snead says for the most part, elections officers are unwittingly lured into the Alliance out of a sincere desire to improve their offices.
“They’re excited about the prospect of joining what they think is a nonpartisan program that will help them do their jobs,” he says. “They think they’re joining something that is very different from what they’re actually joining.
“I’m all for recognizing election talent, recognizing election excellence, and I understand there is a very important role for training and best practices in all of that. The problem here is that you’ve got a wolf presenting itself in sheep’s clothing, and they have a very different agenda than what they purport to be and what they purport to have. And that’s the real problem.”
Snead adds that he sees something in Boone County he hasn’t seen in other elections offices around the country that have joined the Alliance: a lack of transparency.
“While all of the other offices that have joined, at least the ones that we’re aware of, have been very public in joining, I have not seen anything pushed out from Boone County yet. They just spent $1,600 in taxpayer funds to join a highly partisan left-wing organization, and they haven’t told the public that they’re doing this.
“I think the public has a right to know that they are joining this program, and they have a right to weigh in on whether their election administrators should be part of this program. There is a right for the public to know who their election administrators are doing business with – and to put pressure on them to make sure that they are upholding the law.”
Boone County residents should be concerned about all this because it could erode their confidence in elections, Snead argues – adding that the Michigan county withdrew from the Alliance because officials there couldn’t in good conscience belong to an organization “that pumps money into their office to administer elections, knowing that some of those donors might have personal, financial or political stakes in the outcome of elections.
“The funds are bad enough,” Snead says. “But the groups that are in the Alliance have a clear agenda, and the sorts of conduct that they could be encouraging offices to engage in – the kind of creative legal interpretations that they could be pushing into these offices, as evidenced by their active evasion of Georgia state law – are incredibly corrosive to public confidence in the elections.
“The administration of elections needs to be neutral. It needs to be nonpartisan. That’s the only way that you can guarantee that the public is going to trust the election results – because they have to trust the people who are administering the process in order to trust the results.
“If you get into a situation where you are damaging public trust by pushing partisan politics into election offices and trying to reshape them to push an agenda, then you corrode that trust. And as we know from everything in life, once you lose trust in something, it is very difficult to earn it back.
“There is a real risk to public confidence in elections that this program raises, by either pumping enormous amounts of money or pumping left-wing politics into these offices.”