Empower Wisconsin | July 10, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Beware of liberal election reform advocacy groups bearing gifts.
The Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) just dropped a boatload of “free” cash — $6.3 million — on five lib Wisconsin cities to help administer elections during the pandemic.
Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine will divvy up the grant money provided, CTCL claims, to ensure “polling places are open and following public health guidelines.” The center also wants to make sure local communities provide “options for voters to easily and securely return mail ballots.”
CTCL describes itself as nonpartisan. Spoiler Alert: It’s really not.
The organization advocates for left-of-center voting policies and election administration, according to Influencewatch.org “CTCL has a wide reach into local elections offices across the nation.”
The Skoll Foundation was funded by billionaire philanthropist Jeffrey Skoll. He’s founder of Participant, a firm that produces films such as An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore in which Gore presents what he believes to be the inevitable consequences of climate change, according to Influence Watch. The Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper in a 2103 profile wrote that Skoll “produces blockbusters that feature political or social messages,” investing in “progressive causes” and “galvanizing world opinion” through his propaganda.
The Democracy Fund “contributes to center-left and left-wing media organizations, groups seeking to infringe on campaign speech rights, left-of-center voter registration organizations, and nominally non-aligned public policy organizations,” Influence Watch reports.
CTCL hosts an annual conference for election officials and left-of-center election policy activists, according to Influence Watch. Left-leaning advocacy organizations represented at the CTCL’s 2019 conference included the Democracy Fund, League of Women Voters, Metric Geometry & Gerrymandering Group, We Vote, MapLight, Democracy Works, and the National Institute on Money in Politics.
“The center has a network of hundreds of election offices across the nation and works to train election officials. CTCL provides courses to election offices and travels to offices (for a fee of $5,000) to help local officials collect data, build websites, and develop messages to motivate voters,” Influence Watch reports.
CTCL hangs with the same left-wing groups and politicians pushing for vote-by-mail elections, and fighting against election integrity laws like voter ID.
Need more proof of their left credentials? The group is warmly embraced by socialist Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who was effusive in her praise about the $1.3 million in “free” money from the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
“We experienced in April how incredibly challenging it is to run an election during a pandemic and frankly how expensive it is to do it right,” Rhodes-Conway told the liberal Wisconsin State Journal. “Ideally this funding would come from the federal government who would be providing for a safe, secure election all across the country. Absent that, I’m grateful there are folks out there in the private sector who want to both provide technical assistance to cities and the support needed for us to do it on our own.”
Yes, private sector donors such as Google and Facebook, tech entities not known for their even-handedness in politics and free speech (aka, conservatives need not apply).
If Satya Rhodes-Conway is impressed, be very wary about the motives of the organization.
The center also announced a $2.2 million grant to Milwaukee, $1.1 million to Green Bay, $863,000 to Kenosha and $942,000 to Racine.
CTCL describes itself as a “team of civic technologists, trainers, researchers, election administration and data experts working to foster a more informed and engaged democracy, and helping to modernize U.S. elections.”
The company the organization keeps is a good indicator of what its ultimate goals are.