The following Op-Ed was submitted by Brian Parsons. Note: Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
“Four hundred million Zuckerbucks were distributed with strings attached. Officials were required to work with “partner organizations” to massively expand mail-in voting and staff their election operations with partisan activists. The plan was genius. And because no one ever imagined that the election system could be privatized in this way, there were no laws to prevent it.”
– Mollie Hemingway, Rigged
One of the least sexy political seats in the nation is that of state secretary of state. Yet, the secretary of state holds one of the most important roles of any elected official, bar none. That role is that of elections administrator. When controversy struck in the 2020 election, the public was largely caught flat-footed by fiat rule changes implemented at the state level around the nation by partisan secretaries of state.
For instance, in Michigan, Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson gave a directive to Michigan county clerks to presume signatures on ballots to be accurate and to not verify them in the 2020 election. The courts have since thrown out this directive, an election late and a ballot short. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was instrumental in administrative elections changes, such as dropping signature verification requirements, placing drop boxes around metro Atlanta, and allowing for ballot curing by entering into a consent decree with Stacy Abrams’ Fair Fight Action NGO. This was outside of Georgia election law and has since been reformed by the Georgia Legislature.
Here in Idaho, the man who brought Facebook’s election dollars to Idaho wants to be your next secretary of state. That man is Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane. McGrane spearheaded CTCL’s campaign to inject Silicon Valley dollars into Ada County’s elections, and he encouraged all of Idaho’s counties to follow suit. What is worse is that while Ada County took nearly $500k from Mark Zuckerberg’s CTCL to administer their elections, Zuckerberg’s Meta Corporation pushed forward plans for an $800 million dollar data center in the City of Kuna within Ada County. That deserves well more scrutiny than it has received, and if Attorney General Lawrence Wasden wasn’t on the same Jim Jones-backed ballot slate as McGrane, he might look into it.
Despite numerous attempts to draw attention to this issue by reaching out to various media organizations and politicians in Idaho, there has largely been radio silence around this glaring conflict of interest. I received no response from District 29 Representative Dustin Manwaring. No response from Phil McGrane’s competition, State Senator Mary Souza. I received no response from the Idaho State Journal. Though contacted, the Idaho Dispatch is woefully overcommitted to other projects and understaffed. The only substantive response I received was from the secretary of state candidate I will be supporting, Stanley’s Representative Dorothy Moon. Her campaign offered to meet with me and discuss my concerns in person when they passed through Pocatello on Easter weekend. Local politicians and candidates I’ve spoken with are largely aware of this issue, but who is notifying the public?
So why does this private and partisan funding matter? Proponents have suggested that Zuckerberg’s millions served as a crucial funding gap in administering Idaho’s elections in the midst of COVID. Despite stated funding concerns, December 2020 financial reports showed that Idaho carried a $600 million dollar budget surplus into 2021.
A review from the Foundation For Government Accountability (FGA), found that only 1.3 percent of the $31 million granted to Georgia counties by CTCL landed in COVID responses like Personal Protective Equipment. Further, they found that those Georgia counties that did not receive funding from CTCL in 2020 saw little shift in voter party splits from 2016, while those that received funding shifted an average of 2.3 points toward Democrats. A huge percentage bump in a state that went for Trump by +4 points in 2016.
It is my opinion that the secretary of state is the most important state election on the Idaho ballot this year. It will potentially hand the future of Idaho’s elections to someone who needlessly sold his county’s elections and 20 other counties’ elections to Silicon Valley. All of this at a time when Silicon Valley was working feverishly to suppress conservative voices and even went as far as to ban the New York Post and the President of the United States from the social media public square.
For a state that fights daily to prevent the progressive coastal invasion, there is no quicker way to undo hard-fought progress than electing the progressive invasion’s chosen representative for secretary of state. I can think of no worse outcome for Idaho in 2022, than for Idaho to give a promotion to the man who sold Idaho’s elections in 2020 to California. In my opinion, that is how Phil McGrane disqualifies himself from office.
Tags: Brian Parsons, Phil McGrane, Secretary of State