A report presented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation shows that over $36 million was spent to encourage Texas election officials to hold 2020 presidential elections outside of what is mandated in Texas laws.
How the Process Worked
County officials in Texas were encouraged to apply for grants from the Center for Technology for Civic Life. The money could not be used for any purpose already budgeted for by county officials. Once the county was approved by the foundation that was primarily supported by funding from Mark Zuckerberg, then they received the funds.
Unlawful Changes to Texas Elections
Officials were encouraged to host drive-thru voting locations, buy new ballot mail sorting machines and cover voting location expenses, including PPE equipment.
Chosen Texas Counties
The largest recipient of these funds was Dallas County. They received $15,130,444. Harris County, which covers most of Houston, received $9,600,000. Webb County, whose county seat is Laredo, received $2,820,960. Other counties receiving large sums of money include Bexar, Cameron, Travis, El Paso, Fort Bend, Hays, Williamson, Hidalgo, Brooks and Maverick.
Did the Money Make a Difference?
It is difficult to tell if the money had a notable effect on Texas election results. The state leads the nation in population rate growth. Voter turnout in these counties and nearby suburban areas was up 30% for Trump and 40% for Biden over 2016 results. Tarrant County, which received 21% of its election budget from the foundation, went to Biden. Additionally, Austin and the surrounding metro area saw about a 75% increase in raw voter turnout.
The Texas State Legislature, which only meets every other year, is considering legislation to end this type of money from entering the state. Representative Phil King of Weatherford is sponsoring the bill that is now in front of the House Election Committee.