Priorities USA Ramps up $10 Million Voting Rights Push, Litigating in Key Battleground States Ahead of Midterms
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Priorities USA is reaffirming its commitment to combating voter suppression through a $10 million investment in voter protection litigation ahead of the critical midterm elections. In 2022, Priorities is pursuing voting rights cases in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan and New Hampshire. More details regarding each case are listed below.
Voting rights have always been a central tenet of Priorities’ work, and this year’s robust programming reflects the organization’s long-standing commitment to protecting voting rights and dispelling misinformation surrounding voting. Since 2015, Priorities has invested over $50 million, litigated nearly 30 cases and secured relief for voters across the country in every case brought.
“Protecting the right to vote is not just a facet of Priorities’ work—it’s central to our mission. Our organization recognized early on that right-wing voter suppression efforts would only become more aggressive, and we built a dynamic team of lawyers, advocates and communicators to combat these anti-democratic efforts in the courts,” said Aneesa McMillan, Deputy Executive Director of Priorities USA. “We know that Black and Brown people, young people, the elderly and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by voter suppression, and our work specifically centers these communities when we are crafting a litigation strategy. I am proud of the relief we have already secured for voters and optimistic about the results of our future efforts to protect voting rights for every American.”
Pennsylvania Drop Box Intervention
Priorities most recently announced support for a legal intervention against a right-wing effort to severely restrict access to drop boxes in Lehigh County during the upcoming election. The restrictions would limit drop box availability to business hours and require them to be “physically monitored in-person,” a tactic Republicans have previously used to intimidate voters. Our case argues protecting access to drop boxes is especially crucial for those who are unable to vote in person because of disability, scheduling conflicts, lack of transportation, postal delivery issues, and other factors.
North Carolina Signature Match Intervention
Priorities is supporting a legal intervention, on behalf of the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans, to defend against a lawsuit that seeks to impose signature matching requirements on absentee ballot and ballot application forms. Signature matching is an arbitrary and error-prone process that is directly responsible for the unwarranted disenfranchisement of voters, especially considering an individual’s signature may change for a plethora of reasons, including age, illness, injury, eyesight, and other factors.
Arizona Voter Registration Challenge
Priorities recently announced it is challenging a law in Arizona that criminalizes volunteers and organizations who provide voting assistance to individuals registered in another state. The law also requires county officials to cancel a voter’s registration if they are registered in another county. This practice unfairly targets young voters, college students, older voters who have moved to the state, and other transient voters who are more likely to be poor and non-white, especially since holding multiple voter registrations is quite common.
New Hampshire Provisional Ballot
Priorities is challenging a new law in New Hampshire that systemically disenfranchises qualified voters by creating a second-tier provisional ballot for first-time voters who register on Election Day and do not have a photo ID. Those voters must take burdensome steps to prove their identity and eligibility in order to have their ballot counted. The law will disproportionately affect younger voters, student voters, and lower income voters.
Georgia Wet Signature
Priorities is additionally leading a legal challenge in response to a provision in Georgia’s widely criticized Senate Bill 202 that requires absentee ballot applications to be physically printed out and signed with “pen and ink,” unfairly limiting ballot access for many voters of color and the elderly.
Nevada Voter ID
This June, Priorities successfully led a legal challenge against a proposed public ballot initiative in Nevada that sought to enact stringent ID laws in upcoming elections, including a photo ID requirement for in-person voters, limitations on the eligible forms of photo ID and requiring a signature match in some instances.
In late August, a nearly identical version of the voter ID public ballot initiative was introduced by the same proponents, again seeking to impose burdensome requirements to disenfranchise lawful voters. Priorities funded a legal challenge to that as well, resulting in the withdrawal of the initiative.
Michigan Voter Roll Purge Intervention
Earlier this year, Priorities announced its support for a legal intervention in Michigan against a lawsuit seeking to arbitrarily purge registered voters from the voter rolls. The proposed purge, cloaked as a “list maintenance” procedure to remove inactive voters, relies on error-prone and highly questionable database matching efforts that disproportionately target Black and Brown voters as well as voters in underserved communities.
Michigan Voter Transportation Ban
Priorities also led a legal challenge to a Michigan state law that makes it a misdemeanor to pay to transport voters to the polls unless they are physically unable to walk. Our case argued that this law is overly vague and violates the rights of organizations like Priorities that assist voters who lack affordable access to personal transportation.