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Kane County Republicans battle each other over conspiracy theory

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

Kane County Republicans are rallying to block a $2 million grant they believe is a Trojan horse that will introduce Democratic influence into how local elections are run.

Just so we’re clear here, this grant was received by the Republican county clerk.

* Let’s back up to a 2022 press release

Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham today proudly announced that the Kane County Clerk’s Office was named as a Center for Election Excellence by the nonpartisan U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a recognition that the Clerk’s Office is committed to leadership in election administration and looking to develop even more resilient, trustworthy, and voter-centric election administration practices.

Clerk Cunningham said, “I am honored that our office was selected as a Center for Election Excellence. We are one of only ten election authorities in the country to receive this honor. Our office has been a model for other election authorities in Illinois and across the country, and our recognition as a Center for Election Excellence reiterates that. […]

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is a nonpartisan program that brings together election officials, designers, technologists, and other experts to envision, support, and celebrate excellence in U.S. election administration.

Cunningham added, “As a former president of the National Association of County Recorders and Clerks, I built a network of hundreds of election authorities across the country. I understand the value of collaboration, sharing best practices, and discussing innovation and automation. Kane County was the first election authority in Illinois to have a Votemobile and more recently automated Vote by Mail processing equipment. We are proud to be trendsetters in Illinois and across the nation. We look forward to working with the other Centers of Election Excellence to develop new and innovative ways to improve elections for the voters and to help other jurisdictions across the country raise the bar of election administration.”

* Which brings us to the Kane County GOP’s response

Friends of you haven’t heard, our clerk, Jack Cunningham was awarded a $2 million dollar grant from the US Alliance….

Posted by Kane County GOP on Sunday, March 12, 2023

* Back to the Daily Herald

Michelle Brickert Bettag, a St. Charles resident, called the money a rebranding of “Zuckerbucks” and “dirty money” with hidden obligations.

National Review

The term has become a catch-all to describe private entities donating millions of dollars to fund the official government vote-counts in the 2020 elections. Chief among them was Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose non-profit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), gave $350 million to 2,500 election departments across 47 states.

Election officials mainly used the money to buy masks, plexiglass dividers, and other resources to mitigate risks related to the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2020 election.

* Daily Herald

Following former President Donald Trump’s failed reelection bid, some Republicans pointed to the Zuckerberg donations as influencing the outcome. As a result, several GOP-led states, like Florida, have banned such donations.

Of course Florida banned them. It’s the state where wild conspiracy theories go to be stopped by statutes.

* It’s even gone national

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, today reintroduced the “End Zuckerbucks Act” in the 118th Congress. This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from directly funding official election organizations through donations or donated services.

* Daily Herald

[Deputy Kane County Clerk John Duggan] said the $2 million grant likely would go toward the replacement of aging voting machines. […]

David Young, who won his seat on the county board in November as an “America first conservative,” said he sees a lot of red flags about the grant. He’s concerned, for instance, that the center may push the clerk’s office to purchase election equipment from specific vendors.

Gee, I wonder what vendor he’s talking about?


  1. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    Any normal party would brag about the award for a couple of elections. But hey let’s send the money back and buy new voting machines with our own money. Great thinking on behalf of the taxpayers of Kane County

  2. - Rabid - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:05 am:

    expanding critical race theory

  3. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:06 am:

    The Republican Party has been taken over by crackpots. And what bothers me more than that is the amount of people who believe the nonsense they peddle. I honestly do not know what the heck is wrong with people.

  4. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:09 am:

    “Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep”

  5. - 62629 - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:11 am:

    more and more, Republicans never met a story they couldn’t turn into a conspiracy theory

  6. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:16 am:

    “Republican county clerk”

    Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham is a top-notch public servant. In my family, we have early, VBM, and election-day voters all work smoothly. He’s also a smart politician

  7. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:22 am:

    Jack is bragging. Rightfully so. It’s just that the party he used to believe in has gone nuts - MAGA. I knew Jack when he was a young elected official. That was when I was an even younger Aurora precinct committeeman.

    I worked with the Kane party on elections. Unfortunately, my candidate lost. They were decent people. Decency has left the GOP. That’s why I’ll continue to call them MAGA GOP.

  8. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:23 am:

    =I honestly do not know what the heck is wrong with people.=

    Your exasperation made me chuckle. Not haha, but sad funny. And it really is sad that we have arrived here.

    We opened the door to foreign interference and disinformation and now there is essentially no truth. Cray Cray.

  9. - Socially DIstant watcher - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    Stopped?? Florida is where conspiracy theories go to get codified.

  10. - frustrated GOP - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:33 am:

    A County Clerk, who’s a successful businessman, conservative, and ran elections for 20 years. and he’s out of touch??
    Welcome to the current Whig party. soon to be extinct.

    I would love for new equipment in Kane County.

  11. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    This crowd don’t want no ‘lection machines. They’ll do just fine with pencils and paper. Then they’ll claim them ‘lection workers are corrupt. Then they’ll claim “woke!” Then they’ll … oh you get the picture.

  12. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    Really scary.
    This is why critical reading skills must be taught in school starting at an early age.
    Don’t know if it does any good once you’ve reached this point, but it’s worth a try.

  13. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    At this point, any Republican who doesn’t put the three sets of parentheses around “Zuckerbucks” is practically a moderate.

  14. - Techie - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    What a day when Republicans argue against saving taxpayer money, and to fund a county clerk’s office headed by one of their own.

    This party needs to go extinct and be replaced by something sane.

  15. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    Norseman, when I was a young committeeman, Jack was the first to talk to me and offered intelligent advice.

    The Kane GOP thinking he is part of some grand election fraud plan tells you everything you need to know about the GOP in this state and in general. If this is what the party has to offer voters in Kane County.

  16. - Jerry - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 12:05 pm:

    Actually voting using pen and paper works well.

  17. - ProUnion - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 12:23 pm:

    Moved from Chicago to Kane County in 2000 because my wife was from Elgin. At that time, Kane County elected officials were almost entirely Republicans. That has changed dramatically. Democrats now do very well in Kane County, and there is no way that the MAGA Republicans are going to reverse that.

  18. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 12:25 pm:

    == Actually voting using pen and paper works well. ==

    Yeah unless you have a vision problem, speak a different language (yes you can have multiple paper ballots on site) or have a polling place that covers many different ballots. As the one Kane County has in downtown Aurora for early voting, for example, my pct is one of only one or two in the entire county that votes for the Oswego School Board (a tiny portion of the SD is in Kane County).

    As a bonus, the machines Kane County uses, like every other machine in the state, will create a paper record of the vote and make that visible to the voter before the vote is officially cast.

    Back when we still had the Aurora Election commission, we had a paper ballot option, most folks voted via machine, and the paper ballots were still counted electronically.

    Every single electronically counted vote can be tracked to a piece of paper in Illinois.

  19. - Chris - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 12:33 pm:

    Zuckerberg is a liberal? Why’d he keep Peter Thiel on his board of directors for so long, then?

  20. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 12:34 pm:

    ==Actually voting using pen and paper works well==

    Are you saying get rid of electronic voting? Because it works well too . . . unless you buy into the fraud nonsense.

  21. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 1:17 pm:

    This kind of press is why I abandoned the Kane County Republican Party a decade ago in spite of my center-right leanings.

    Been casting split tickets for years.

    The best local/Kane County take on the mess from last week’s County Board meeting is from Jeff Ward, campaign consultant and blogger who knows the inside-baseball of Kane County.


  22. - This and That - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 1:18 pm:

    Just continuing a sad trend of the power of misinformation / disinformation in our society today … a true cancer in our midst

  23. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 1:36 pm:

    ===You can look them up on Google.===

    People receptive to this type of e-mail most likely have a Google search history that will prompt Google to give them highly biased search results.

    That’s how the echo chamber works. Google can be useful, but it can also keep people hearing only what they want to hear. It facilitates closed information loops which hardens opinions and doesn’t serve anyone except Google and its advertisers.

  24. - Jerry - Wednesday, Mar 22, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    If we’re getting rid of Zuckerbucks time to get rid of KochBucks too!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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