What the Center for Technology and Civic Life is

According to Influence Watch, the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) is: “a Chicago, Illinois-based center-left election reform advocacy group formed in 2012. The organization pushes for left-of-center voting policies and election administration. It has a wide reach into local elections offices across the nation and is funded by many left-of-center funding organizations such as the Skoll Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life has two main programming areas: “civic data” (a term it uses for election and candidate information), and training for election officials. CTCL has assembled resources to collect data from nearly every local election office; covering candidates on the ballot for each race, information describing those offices, and contact information for elected officials. The organization boasts that more than 250 million voters have accessed its data and that CTCL acts as a major supplier of ballot data for tech giants Facebook and Google. Additionally, Rock the Vote, the Women Donors Network, and the Voting Information Project have all used data provided by CTCL

In August, 2020, CTCL announced that it had donated $6.3 million to five cities in Wisconsin, a swing state in the upcoming election. The organization explained that the funds are meant to ensure Wisconsin has a “safe, inclusive, and secure election.” CTCL recommended the recipient cities to “Encourage and Increase Absentee Voting,” “Dramatically Expand Strategic Voter Education & Outreach Efforts, Particularly to Historically Disenfranchised Residents,” “Launch Poll Worker Recruitment, Training and Safety Efforts,” and “Ensure Safe and Efficient Election Day Administration.”

Ballotpedia reported that on Sept. 1, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced that they were providing $300 million in funding to support nonprofits to provide assistance to city and county election offices, with $50 million going to CEIR and $250 million going to the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL).

In addition to the large sum Zuckerberg and Chan gave to CTCL, the organization has received financial and other assistance from several center-left foundations and advocacy organizations.

In April 2020 the Skoll Foundation awarded CTCL a $1.5 million grant, Influence Watch reports. And for donation years 2015 through 2017 the charitable recordkeeping service FoundationSearch reports more than $1.3 million in total donations to CTCL from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as at least $690,000 from the Democracy Fund to CTCL, and another $10,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to CTCL.

On its “Key Funders and Partners” web page, the Center for Tech and Civic Life also credits these organizations as having supported its work:

• Google.

• Facebook.

• Rock the Vote.

• Center for Civic Design.

• Women Donors Network.

• Center for Democracy and Technology.

• The Voting Information Project (project of Democracy Works).


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