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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg pledges $300M to support ‘safe and reliable voting’

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Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Ceremony.


Taylor Hill/Getty Images

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are committing $300 million to support voting and election infrastructure in the US ahead of the November election

“Election officials across the country are working hard to ensure that everyone can vote and every vote can be counted — and we want to help make sure they have the resources they need to do this,” the Facebook CEO wrote in a post on Tuesday. 

The couple is giving $250 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life to “provide funding for local counties to have the staffing, training, and equipment they need,” said Zuckerberg. The remaining $50 million will go to the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a nonprofit that aims to help state and local election officials ensure that elections are secure and that voters are informed. 

“We all depend on election officials to provide safe and secure voting options to the public. Unfortunately, election departments face unprecedented challenges in 2020 due to COVID-19,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of CTCL, in a press release. “This expansion of our COVID-19 Response Grant program provides our country’s election officials and poll workers with the critical resources they need to safely serve every voter.”

The $300 million pledge from Chan and Zuckerberg, which was earlier reported by Axios, is separate from efforts by Facebook to register people to vote and combat election misinformation

Misinformation on social networks has been a top concern since Russian trolls used Facebook and other sites to post content aimed at sowing discord among Americans during the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook has also been under fire for not sending posts from politicians to fact-checkers, while also fending off allegations that it censors speech from conservatives.

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