Voting rights spur fundraising across the political spectrum

There is a wave of new bills and laws popping up in state legislatures across the country to change election laws. They have been called efforts to reform, restrict, or remove voter access. The language used depends on the speaker’s position on the political spectrum.

And while these are state-level laws, there is national money behind the efforts, both for and against the new laws.

This is nothing new.

There has been a struggle for the right to vote throughout American history, said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice.

“New wave of electoral laws”

“However, he has become hyperactive over the past year or so, and that has animated this new wave of proposed voting laws and restrictions in a way none of us have ever seen before.,” he said.

The Brennan Center tracks at least 361 invoices in 47 states it says contain restrictive provisions.

“It’s an extremely powerful center of gravity now on the right,” said Waldman. “It has become a fundraising problem. “

Republican groups are putting a lot of effort into changing election laws in dozens of states, saying they are pushing for reforms, not restrictions. It has been good for fundraising.

“Our membership base is very encouraged that we are working in this space,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy organization.

Target Georgia, Arizona

Heritage Action plans to spend $ 24 million over two years “spread over eight, what we would consider targeted states.” Two of them, we’ve already started our spending and our core work in Georgia, Arizona, ”Anderson said.

The group is pushing for voter identification requirements, limits on absentee voting and ending voter registration on the same day.

Anderson highlights their successful campaign to help push Georgia’s new Election Law to the finish line, which Heritage Action is now advertising nationwide to defend, stating that the organization “was proud to support electoral reform in Georgia ”.

$ 30 million in efforts

On the political left, groups like End Citizens United and the Let America Vote Fund have partnered with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee for a $ 30 million effort to fight the most restrictive bills and to support federal legislation on access to the ballot boxes.

But that’s probably not all the money invested in these fights. Jay Riestenberg of Common Cause, who calls for more accessible voting, is particularly concerned about conservative “secret donors” who fund the promotion of more restrictive laws.

“Well, the truth is, we’ll never really know because a lot of these groups don’t disclose their spending or where their funding comes from,” Riestenberg said. “But I think we’re well in the over $ 100 million area on both sides.”

And with so many bills passing through so many state houses, even more political money is likely on the way.

Clarification: (April 28, 2021): Context has been added to clarify Jay Riestenberg’s position on undisclosed political donors.


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