It was a thrill to be featured to speak in front of 150 at the Langlade GOP meeting Thursday in Antigo, WI (see photo), and to look forward to talking with the hundreds who signed up for a Friday meeting in Virginia as bookends, but the highlight of the 9-day blitz occurred …
… just before midnight Monday when Georgia Representative Houston Gaines (pictured between TBOR Action’s Byron Shehee - left - and John Pudner - right) won final approval for SB 222 to ban Zuckerbucks in Georgia.
The congratulations to Representative Gaines, who represents a district around the University of Georgia (as indicated by the newspaper headlines in the background of the photo), came two years and six days after TBOR Action successfully lobbied for instant runoff ballots for overseas and military personnel (HB59), by the bill being rolled into the election reform act (see page 5, SB202). It also occurred just two weeks after TBOR Action Presented to the Indiana Elections Committee on a bill that will pass, and where we hope the bill requiring Voter ID for absentee ballots will also pass by 2024 (it has passed one Chamber).
As Pudner told the 150 attending the Langlade GOP meeting (pictured below) four days before the Georgia bill passed, this was not the first time TBOR Action opposed allowing Facebook or CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s influence on elections.
In 2017, TBOR Action won an FEC case requiring Facebook to disclose the source of political ads. The Georgia law to ban Zuckerbucks followed a similar bill signed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who first became Lt. Governor in 2010 when Pudner and Jessica Mims oversaw 168,000 door knocks and supported Ivey’s big upset over Jim Folsom Jr. on behalf of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Why Zuckerbucks Must be Stopped
The risks of Zuckerbucks start with the perception summed up nicely in this Wall Street Journal piece, Zuckerbucks Shouldn’t Pay for Elections - It fans mistrust letting private donors fund official voting duties.
Beyond the perception, the implementation can be much more dangerous. For example, one idea being kicked around was to have election officials bonused based on how many votes they tallied in elections. The fact that Ivy Tower academics do not understand that even assuming 99%+ of election officials are honest, the idea that NO ONE would pocket lots of extra money by adding votes to the mix is just naive. Luckily that idea was stopped, but trying to monitor any other dangerous implementations among the $350 million in Mark Zuckerberg spread around the country is simply not worth the risk
New Office Amidst our 5 Most Visited Capitals
After driving back from the speech in Langlade and through the heavy weekend snow in Wisconsin, Pudner landed in 78-degree weather and joined Shehee to swing through the five State Capitals they have worked the most - in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. During the trip TBOR Action opened their Mid-Atlantic office in the triangle building in the photo - in the historic "Raleigh Building" located at 5 West Hargett St Suite 900, Raleigh NC 27615 just a block from the NC Capitol. From this base, Hellwig (inset photo) continues to introduce legislators to TBOR Action’s proposed reforms.
The Weeks Ahead - Fox News and Lincoln Day Speeches
Pudner will also be the speaker at two more Lincoln Day Dinners in Wisconsin in the coming weeks, and be the nationally featured guest on Fox News Radio across the country on April 5, the day after the Wisconsin elections.
The focus will continue to be that anyone concerned about faith in our elections should only focus on legislation that could be passed or legislation that has been passed but is not being implemented. Examples of the law not being followed in Wisconsin and New York were summarized in our NewsMax piece, Whatever You Think About 2020 Results, Just Follow the Law.
That includes not only making sure every LEGAL vote is being counted and not diluted by other votes but that the system of gaming the system by funding spoiler candidates that have thwarted the majority in seven states in the last six years is stopped via a Final Five system that includes the same kind of instant runoff at the end of the process that we passed for the military in Georgia two years ago.
Congrats to Georgia Representative Houston Gaines for the latest example of how good legislation can be passed.