Americans want voting to be safe, easy and accessible. We’re fighting to make that happen.
As several states across the country continue to experience record-high numbers of coronavirus cases, many Americans are increasingly and rightfully concerned about how the pandemic might impact people’s ability to exercise their right to vote in November.
But while Republicans are working to take advantage of the chaos caused by the virus to strategically suppress the vote, Priorities USA is working to ensure that every eligible voter is able to safely make their voice heard in the coming elections.
Republicans are engaged in widespread voter suppression efforts.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares our passion for protecting people’s voting rights. In fact, Donald Trump and his Republican allies are currently doing everything they can to suppress the votes of millions of Americans.
Their assault on our democracy takes several different forms. Most directly, the Republican National Committee has stepped up its involvement and dedicated $20 million to voter suppression efforts. To date, they have already spent millions of dollars combating Priorities USA’s litigation to protect and expand voting rights in states across the country.
At the same time, the RNC is also actively recruiting an army of 50,000 “poll watchers” to be activated across 15 states on Election Day. These “poll watchers” are a tried-and-true intimidation tactic designed to stop people from voting. By systematically challenging certain voters’ eligibility at polling locations, these partisan observers often “create confusion and discourage people who have a right to cast ballots” — resulting in more bottlenecks, longer lines and lower participation.
But the Republican suppression effort isn’t confined to the RNC. Trump has taken it upon himself to personally intervene, repeatedly using his office to combat efforts to promote voter safety by increasing vote-by-mail availability in more states. (Just this week, the president referred to mail-in voting as the “biggest risk” to his reelection.) Meanwhile, the Republican-held Senate has blocked three separate election security bills, and several GOP elected officials have even filed in the Supreme Court to challenge the Voting Rights Act.
This is no accident. It’s a coordinated and purposeful strategy to prevent people from voting for political purposes — particularly those from marginalized communities, such as Black and Brown voters, immigrants, seniors and voters living with disabilities.
Voters overwhelmingly support making voting safer and easier.
Of course, Republicans’ voter suppression efforts run directly contrary to the will of the voters, who are overwhelmingly concerned about making sure they and their neighbors can safely cast their ballots in November. Two-thirds of Americans believe it is likely that COVID-19 will disrupt the election, according to a recent Pew study, and similarly large majorities support enacting efforts to mitigate any potential effects from the pandemic.
For example, several polls have shown overwhelming support for a variety of vote-by-mail proposals. Roughly 7 in 10 support allowing all voters who want to vote by mail to do so in the upcoming election, according to four recently conducted polls. And in states that already have all-mail elections in place, YouGov found that voters who have firsthand experience with it are even more supportive of vote-by-mail.
The data is clear: The vast majority of voters want to make voting safer and easier — and Republicans’ efforts to do the opposite are out of step with the American people. But that also extends beyond vote-by-mail. Even as we prepare for the expansion of mail-in voting, it’s important for states to also work toward efficient and safe in-person voting that is not marred by mismanagement and improper planning by elections officials, while implementing safeguards that take into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent voter suppression.
Priorities USA is fighting to ensure all Americans can safely exercise their right to vote.
Here at Priorities USA, we’ll continue to stand with the voters and fight to ensure that every single one of them can safely participate in our democracy. That’s why we’ve increased our investment in our voting rights work to $32 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With any voting measure, it is critically important that we implement safeguards that encourage participation, especially for marginalized communities that have traditionally been disenfranchised. As we’ve ramped up our activity, Priorities USA has led or supported filings in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania to address four key gaps in state vote-by-mail laws:
- Including government pre-paid postage on all ballots, so voters aren’t forced to pay a poll tax
- Ensuring all ballots postmarked on or before Election Day must be counted, so a person’s vote isn’t adversely impacted by issues beyond their control, such as mail delays
- Allowing community organizations to collect and deliver absentee ballots that are marked and sealed to assist voters who might need help turning in their ballot
- Reforming or eliminating signature matching laws that have disproportionately disenfranchised voters of color
Priorities USA is committed to enacting these measures and more in service of strengthening our democracy. This year, we’ve already secured important victories in cases in Florida and Michigan; succeeded in overturning an unconstitutional voter ID law in New Hampshire; and on Friday, reached an agreement with the Arizona Secretary of State to secure mobile voting sites and expand voter outreach in Hispanic, Latino, Native American and rural communities.
We will continue to actively identify and fight voter suppression efforts across the country between now and November. Because here in America, during one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime, every eligible voter’s voice should be heard loud and clear.
Priorities is continuing to spend over 2 million dollars a week on TV and digital advertising in key battleground states. Priorities is well on track to spend over $200 million through the end of the year to defeat Donald Trump.
This week, the Biden camp made it clear that the campaign is playing offense and is investing $15 million in battleground states like Arizona and Florida in which polls are moving favorably in Biden’s direction. Meanwhile, while the Trump campaign has talked about expanding their electoral map, their spending shows a campaign clearly on defense. In June, the Trump campaign spent the most in Florida, with significant investments in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa. The Trump campaign is nervous about holding on to states that the President won by razor-thin margins in 2016 and is even trying to shore up Trump’s numbers in states he won more comfortably.
Priorities has consistently outspent the Trump campaign in battleground states since July 2019:
JOE BIDEN DEMONSTRATES STRONG LEADERSHIP, DONALD TRUMP IS HIDING
Priorities’ latest digital ad, “Do the Work,” showcases Joe Biden’s latest address to the nation in which he demonstrated that he is ready to do the work of healing our nation and meeting the challenges Americans are facing with bold, direct action. Joe Biden’s compassionate, competent leadership stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s surrender in the fight against coronavirus, choosing instead to feed his ego and hold campaign rallies that endanger the health of thousands.
DONALD TRUMP IS ENDANGERING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND HURTING OUR COMMUNITIES
Priorities has partnered with the League of Conservation Voters to tell swing state voters the truth about Donald Trump’s dangerous rollback of crucial environmental policies. By failing to protect our nation’s environment, Donald Trump is making the water we drink and the air we breathe less safe and disproportionately endangering the health of Black, Brown, and indigenous communities.
“Serious” is running on digital platforms in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida. Donald Trump has repeatedly ignored experts and called climate change a “hoax,” putting the health and safety of Americans at risk. When Trump ignores science, we pay the price.
“Risk” is running in Florida in English and Spanish, telling voters the truth about Donald Trump’s denial of climate change and the threat of coronavirus. By ignoring experts, Trump is putting Floridians’ health at risk.