An election official from a county which received funds from the Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech and Civic Life used a local newspaper column to dismiss evidence of election fraud, praising mail-in ballots in the process, and helping dismiss notions of foul play despite his obvious conflict of interest.
Paddy McGuire, who penned his article for the Shelton-Mason County Journal in 2020, also falsely claimed mail-in voting ensures unparalleled “safety and security,” while also defending the county’s decision to ban in-person election observers.
McGuire, the Auditor for Washington’s Mason County, authored over one dozen articles for the County Journal during the lead-up to the 2020 election, but never disclosed that his county received a cash grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).
CTCL in turn praised McGuire’s column – “Election Matters” – in a feature: “Mason County, Washington Builds Trust Through Local Newspaper Column.”
Launched in January 2020, the bi-weekly column was highlighted by CTCL for its efficacy in “help[ing] to present his office as a source of trusted information” and “preemptively quell[ing] misinformation.”
CTCL used hundreds of millions of dollars from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s organization — the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative — to overrule local election officials and increase turnout in almost exclusively Democratic districts through mail-in voting in 2020. Proving the partisan conflict of interest, leaders from the CTCL overpowered and overruled election authorities and, through coercion, allegedly accessed mail-in ballots ahead of the election.
CTCL’s grant to McGuire’s county – which was never discussed in any of his columns – appears to present a conflict of interest with the opinions expressed in McGuire’s column, which he used to defend the security of mail-in voting, despite the method being rife with fraud and errors, and the integrity of the 2020 election.
In an op-ed “We Prepare and We Plan,“ McGuire outlined how his office wasn’t allowing in-person election observers, allegedly due to COVID-19.
“Those requirements include allowing observers to watch us and being open to the public so people can register to vote in person during the last two and a half weeks before the election. My office is in a building closed to the public by the Board of Mason County Commissioners, so even if I wanted to be open, I can’t,” he reasoned.
Commenting on the article to CTCL, McGuire noted that “being so proactive about outreach helped blunt the criticism that we didn’t allow observers.” Citizens could instead watch live streams of ballot counting, according to officials.
In a November 26th, 2020 article “All Our Systems Just Worked During The Election“ he claimed, “there is no credible evidence that anyone interfered with the outcome of the election anywhere.”
In the same article, he also praised Facebook for taking a “much more aggressive stance against misinformation and disinformation in 2020 than they did in 2016.”
McGuire also repeatedly amplified left-wing talking points about how delayed election results were normal, insisting “getting final results takes time” beyond election night. Similarly, he advocated in favor of mail-in ballots, writing on June 18th, 2020:
“I am a huge fan of vote-by-mail. I hope the safety, security and voter convenience that we enjoy here will one day be available across the country.”