It’s been a busy and as they say, unprecedented, year for elections in Wellesley, from the Presidential Primary in early March to a delayed town election in June to three more chances to vote in the fall. Stir in the introduction of an immediately popular vote-by-mail option and the need to invest in lots of plexiglass to keep in-person staff and voters safe, and the Town Clerk’s office found itself stretched thin.
Good thing Dr. Pricilla Chan and her Facebook CEO husband Mark Zuckerberg are loaded. According to an APM Reports story headlined “How Private Money From Facebook’s CEO Saved The 2020 Election,” the coupled contributed $350 million to an outfit called the Center for Tech and Civic Life that bestowed grants upon more than 2,500 jurisdictions to help fund election administration.
Sharp-eyed Swellesley reader PC noticed that Wellesley was among the communities that received a grant, so we followed up with Town Clerk KC Kato to learn more.
Wellesley scored $11,700 from the Center for the purpose of planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration in 2020.
“The State Elections Office informed Town Clerks about the grant and we applied,” Kato says.
“We are using the funds to help defray costs affiliated with the Vote By Mail efforts, including temporary staffing, voting equipment and election administration equipment,” she says. “Although Vote by Mail was wonderful in providing a safe and easy way for the community to vote, it did require a significant amount of additional labor, systems and postage to process the applications and ballots.”
The Center for Tech and Civic Life money, plus an allocation of CARES Act funding, helped Wellesley make its election operations run smoothly.
Thanks to reader PC for tipping us off about the APM Reports article. We rely heavily on reader tips, and always appreciate them: [email protected]