Leftists Want Partisan Groups to Run our Elections

by | May 25, 2023 | Election Integrity

The Elections Center is just one example of how activists have conquered America’s election machinery one bit at a time. These are not your grandfather’s elections.

Who Controls Election Officials?

Not long ago, the Left was content to embed “progressives” into America’s institutions one activist at a time. Now they aim to inject entire organizations into election operations, hooking government agencies on private money and undue partisan influence.

Americans first witnessed this in action in 2020, when the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) funneled $400 million into local election offices nationwide to juice Democratic turnout in swing states. But “Zuck bucks” were just the Left’s opening move. Now the campaign to remake our elections is in full swing, and it starts with training election workers.

The Election Center, which doubles as the National Association of Election Officials (NAEO), is the country’s largest training and consulting group for voter registrars, clerks, and other election administrators. It’s trained between 600 and 1,000 individuals every year since 1989, and also caters to the companies which provide voting systems software, machines, and ballots, among other supplies.

For over three decades, the Election Center has been a nonpartisan catalyst for streamlining election operations—which is exactly why the Left targeted it for takeover early this year.

In December 2022, the center replaced its longtime—and politically neutral—executive director, Tim Mattice, with two “progressive” co-CEOs: Joe Gloria, ex-registrar of voters for Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas), and Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor to Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund. It’s worth diving into their backgrounds.

Viva Las Vegas

Gloria’s track record in Las Vegas—the capital of sleaze, the Mob, and dirty elections—is well-known. As registrar, he championed Nevada’s adoption of automatic voter registration (AVR) in early 2022, boasting to elected officials that “our voter rolls did increase as a result . . . [it] was very successful in the state of Nevada.” (AVR reportedly cost the state $4 million in start-up costs and another $800,000 annually to maintain, something Gloria apparently shrugs off as a minor burden.

In 2020, he blamed Clark County’s slow-counting of mail-in ballots—which only saw Biden’s lead grow after Election Day—in part on “the mess, disinformation, and criticism from several groups.” (Undoubtedly he didn’t meant the left-wing groups like the National Vote at Home Institute that pushed vote-by-mail on the country in 2020.)

Since then, Gloria has endorsed the Left’s lie that Trump voters are a danger to election workers, telling reporters in 2022 that Clark County had “beefed-up security” “due to all the threats of violence” coming, invariably, from the Right. Not surprisingly, he’s a member of both groups promulgating that absurd myth: the Election Officials Legal Defense Network (run by David Becker’s Center for Election Innovation & Research) and the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections.

Gloria was also caught up in CTCL’s new Alliance for Election Excellence, as emails published by the Honest Elections Project reveal. The alliance promises grants to counties in exchange for their membership in its coalition, crediting the “grants” towards free services provided by its members—such as the Elections Group, a consultancy that pushes vote-by-mail and every-earlier voting. The alliance, in turn, gets unprecedented access to county election procedures and information.

According to the emails, Gloria loved the services but hated the Alliance’s hidden fee—in November 2022 he emailed the alliance that “I have been selling this to management as a program that will be provided free of charge. This is a little disheartening and unexpected.”

Lawlessness On Display

But the most damning evidence of Gloria’s partisanship came in April during a U.S. House hearing on “American Confidence in Elections.”

Gloria was asked by Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) how Clark County verifies ballot authenticity given that Nevada has no voter ID requirement. He explained that Clark County relies on a signature-matching machine, not a human reader, dialed to a suspiciously low setting (40 out of 100 points) which Gloria and his staff felt “comfortable” with.

“I’d offer that photo ID is a far better form of matching a ballot to the individual,” Steil replied.

“Signature verification is the lowest form of voter identification,” Ken Cuccinelli, a participant representing the Election Transparency Initiative, added. “It is something, but it’s barely above zero.”

Crickets from Gloria.

When asked if he approved of D.C.’s new law allowing non-citizens—say, Russian and Chinese Embassy staff—to cast a ballot in elections, Gloria sniffed: “I’d rather not express an opinion” because, “as an election official, we administered [elections], we weren’t involved with [making] policy.” (Contrast that with his support for enacting automatic voter registration.)

Later, when pressed on the $2.4 million Clark County solicited from CTCL in 2020—funds donated to CTCL by Mark Zuckerberg supposedly for COVID-19 “relief”—Gloria admitted that the money was spent in part on mail-in ballots.

Cuccinelli and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told the committee that Zuck bucks “flipped” the 2020 election because they were used to fund “get out the vote,” not personal protect equipment (PPE).

“I would strongly disagree,” Gloria replied, shaking his head.

According to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, Clark County sent out 1.28 million ballots ahead of the November 2020 election, 92,000 of which were returned undeliverable to incorrect addresses. It’s unclear how many were paid for by Zuck bucks. But CTCL has promised Clark County another $3 million ahead of the 2024 election in exchange for membership in its Alliance for Election Excellence.

It’s worth pointing out that two of the alliance’s key members are fronts for the largest “dark money” network in the world, run by the shadowy consultancy Arabella Advisors in Washington, D.C. One of the Arabella network’s top donors is Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss citizen who resides in the United States; Wyss is barred from contributing to political campaigns, so he uses his enormous wealth to fund left-wing nonprofits that help Democrats win elections and shape policy.

Steil asked Gloria: “Are you aware that one of the [Arabella network’s] major donors is a foreign national?” He replied that he was not aware. If you had known, Steil continued, “would that cause you concern?”

“If we had known at the time it would’ve been something that I would’ve made our commission aware of,” Gloria admitted.

From Arizona to the Swamp

Tammy Patrick’s credentials, if anything, are worse.

A decade ago she was Maricopa County’s election compliance officer. In 2013, President Obama appointed Patrick to his commission on election administration, which pushed the states to “modernize” their voter registration practices.

As we’ve reported, “voter registration modernization” is usually a euphemism for the Left’s takeover of election machinery starting (at least) in 2010, when the phrase was coined by Pew Charitable Trusts and the Brennan Center. In fact, Patrick was a star expert in a 2010 Brennan Center report on the need for expanding online voter registration: “Paper-based forms,” Patrick explains, “are as much as five times more likely to introduce errors into the registration process, as compared to paperless registration.”

Registering to vote online isn’t the issue; bloating our voter rolls is, which is why Pew’s “modernization” campaign also birthed the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which identifies and forces states to register eligible-but-unregistered individuals. 8 states have withdrawn from ERIC, citing its partisanship and failure to improve voter rolls after a year spent trying to reform ERIC. This was an opportunity for the Left to vindicate ERIC by answering objections. Yet Patrick apparently prefers to accuse ERIC’s critics of “weaponizing . . . election administration” with claims “not based on factual evidence” in order “to appease a particular faction” of far-right conspiracy theorists.

Then again, Patrick sits alongside ERIC founder David Becker as members of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s (D) Election Modernization Advisory Committee, which was created in 2019 to expand mail-in and no-excuse absentee ballots, enact automatic voter registration and “Election Day registration,” and address “logistical considerations for ballots received after Election Day.”

Her support for vote-by-mail only grew in 2020, which she swore was “the most secure, most observed, most transparent, most audited election in U.S. history with the most number of voters. That is the truth.”

“Sadly, in the last year some election administrative policies like absentee voting/voting by mail have been weaponized and used in political theater,” Patrick wrote in late 2021 for, of all places, a Carter Center retrospective on the 2005 Carter-Baker Commission.

That commission—headed by Jimmy Carter and ex-Reagan official James Baker III—called vote-by-mail the least secure way to run elections. And until 2020, virtually everyone agreed, which is why most European countries have banned the practice and it was rare in most parts of the U.S. (It also dampens turnout, according to a U.K. study.) But Patrick thinks criticism of vote-by-mail is the true “detriment to the . . . tens of millions of voters from both sides of the aisle who select to vote this way.”

In August 2020, Democrats called on Patrick to buttress their argument that “we do not properly fund our elections,” so Congress must overhaul elections. That overhaul, she testified, must include more funding for USPS’ mail-in ballot delivery—including government-paid postage for ballots—and blasted Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (a vote-by-mail skeptic) for being “accusatory and combative” and for threatening to “disenfranchise” absentee voters.

Patrick’s testimony lauded support from outside groups to “save” American democracy: Hand sanitizer from Anheuser-Busch, third-party administrators such as ERIC, and private money from the Center for Tech and Civic Life—she is a founding CTCL board member, after all.

Since 2017 she’s advised the Democracy Fund, the chief philanthropy of eBay founder and Democratic mega-donor Pierre Omidyar. (While there, biased fact-checkers called on Patrick to prop up President Biden’s absurd claim that women are hurt by voter ID laws.)

I’ve documented the Democracy Fund’s role in warping the 2020 Census to favor blue states as part of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, whose left-wing members commanded an impressive $11.5 billion in 2020. The Democracy Fund supports the committee’s Integrated Voter Engagement Model: Shuffle money to “democracy groups” that will “defend + expand voting rights” to “achieve policy impact” and obtain “power” for Democrats.

Source: Funders Committee for Civic Participation.
Credit: Capital Research Center.

Prior to that, Patrick worked for the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), arguably the most misnamed group in Washington politics. In 2016, she consulted for a BPC report describing how the group’s staffers met with U.S. Postal Service officials to consult on expanding its mail-in ballot collection capabilities. According to the report, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund paid for a BPC tool “catalogue election administrators’ service issues during the [2016] election cycle” and “automatically alerts USPS managers of unresolved issues in real-time.”

That wasn’t the full extent of her involvement: Patrick was also the liaison between USPS’ Mailers Technical Advisory Committee—the body that consults on the agency’s products and services—and the group she now runs, the Election Center.

Tilting Left

Soon after Joe Gloria and Tammy Patrick arrived, the Election Center’s newsletter was brimming with reports from the Elections Group, Center for Election Innovation and Research, R Street Institute, and CTCL’s Alliance for Election Excellence on disinformation, expanding vote-by-mail, and the “threats” to democracy (posed, naturally, by conservatives). This is the Left’s endgame: Shape the narrative and control the policy. That’s made dramatically easier if virtually every election official in the country is trained exclusively by “progressives.”

We know that the Election Center’s board also includes Los Angeles County Clerk-Recorder Dean Logan, who heads Pew’s Voter Registration Modernization and Performance Index for Elections working groups. Logan’s a member of the Election Officials Legal Defense Network, which is run by David Becker’s policy shop, the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR). And Logan’s chief deputy, Jeramy Gray, spoke at CEIR’s sham “democracy” summit in May, held at D.C.’s International Spy Museum.

We also know that “progressives” conquered an Election Center spin-off: the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), which is now led by activist Amy Cohen.

As I’ve reported, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund sponsored NASED’s conference in February 2023, which gathered state election officials to discuss procedures, protocols, and technology for improving election administration. Does anyone think Omidyar gave money to the “nonpartisan” NASED by mistake?

Cohen herself co-founded Becker’s CEIR and served as its chief operating officer for years. Yet strangely she never appears in CEIR’s IRS disclosures as a paid employee, perhaps because her salary was paid for by Pew. Prior to co-founding CEIR, Cohen led Pew’s Voting Information Project, which also developed voter registration “modernization” policies. Now the project is run by Democracy Works, an Omidyar-funded “voter participation” advocacy group.

These ideologues only succeed because they steal the credibility established by America’s long history of free and transparent elections and wear it as their own. That tradition is rapidly coming to a close, however, under the strain of authoritarian “progressives” who wish to silence dissent and model our “elections” after those of the Chinese and Soviets.

What conservatives need is an alternative to these organizations, where local election staff can train without partisan influence. Only then can they start to push back against the Left’s takeover of election administration. America’s elections cannot survive anything less.

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