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Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan donate $100 million more to U.S. election infrastructure

Reuters logo Reuters 10/13/2020 By Elizabeth Culliford
Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg are posing for a picture: FILE PHOTO: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and wife Priscilla Chan arrive on the red carpet during the 2nd annual Breakthrough Prize Award in Mountain View, California © Reuters/Stephen Lam FILE PHOTO: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and wife Priscilla Chan arrive on the red carpet during the 2nd annual Breakthrough Prize Award in Mountain View, California

By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said on Tuesday that they will donate an additional $100 million to support election officials and fund infrastructure for the U.S. election in November.

"We've gotten a far greater response than we expected from election officials needing funding for voting infrastructure, so today we're committing an additional $100 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life to make sure that every jurisdiction that needs funding to help people vote safely can get it," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

"So far, more than 2,100 local election jurisdictions have submitted applications to CTCL for support," he wrote.

CTCL is a Chicago-based nonprofit that, according to its website, is "working to foster a more informed and engaged democracy, and helping to modernize U.S. elections."

The pair previously donated $300 million to help the U.S. election process deal with challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, by funding voting equipment and protective equipment for poll workers

In the post, Zuckerberg also hit back at lawsuits trying to block the use of the funds: "Since our initial donation, there have been multiple lawsuits filed in an attempt to block these funds from being used, based on claims that the organizations receiving donations have a partisan agenda. That's false," he said.

The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group that is representing clients and funding lawsuits filed in multiple states, in a statement on Tuesday doubled down on its allegation that the CTCL seeks to turn out Democrats, saying Zuckerberg's announcement was "further proof that private funds from billionaires must not be allowed to dictate how states manage elections."

Zuckerberg and Chan's election infrastructure donations come as Facebook faces both regulatory scrutiny from Washington and pressure from lawmakers to protect against misinformation and other election-related abuses on its platform.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Aurora Ellis)

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