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Democrats Building ‘War Chest’ of Their Own to Fight Republican Voting Laws

Democrats Building ‘War Chest’ of Their Own to Fight Republican Voting Laws

Worried that a wave of more restrictive voting laws adopted by Republican-controlled states will keep Democrats from registering their votes, donors big and small are filling their party’s coffers. Legislators in 27 states are considering over 250 bills with restrictive voting provisions, as of January, compared to 75 bills a year ago, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, an advocacy group. Civil rights activists argue the measures have a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities, who vote in larger measure for Democrats.

Democrats are gearing up to spend record sums on lawyers, advertising, and other protect-the-vote efforts before the 2022 midterm elections, hoping to stave off Republican efforts they believe will choke off access to the ballot box. The party and allies have been setting aside a larger share of cash to fight fires in the relatively few competitive local jurisdictions where small changes can mean the difference between Republican and Democratic victories. Democrats and Republicans each spent about $120 million on legal fees during the 2020 showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

 

But the Republican effort to challenge the election was telegraphed early by Trump and failed in courts. Democrats also succeeded in convincing courts to expand options like vote-by-mail during the pandemic. A record 155 million people voted in the 2020 election won by Biden. As a result, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) took in $157 million last year, the most for a year without a presidential election, and added $10 million more in January. More than half of Democrats’ national funding is coming from people donating less than $200, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks political spending.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), charged with holding the party’s House of Representatives majority during the November 8th election, will commit at least $10 million to voting rights litigation, according to Reuters. That eight-figure budget has not previously been reported and is expected to at least match the DCCC’s record spending in 2020, comes on top of a $30 million commitment by the DNC for voter-registration and litigation efforts as well as $10 million from the Senate campaign. A person familiar with the operation said Democrats expect the largest spending in history on such efforts.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure that every ballot is counted,” said Representative Nikema Williams, a Democrat from Georgia spearheading the DCCC effort, adding that the investments were necessary to counter a “decades-long crusade” by Republicans to “suppress the vote.”

Republicans are gearing up to surpass the Democrats’ effort. The party is said to be budgeting “millions more” on voting issues and that ensuring that “the 2022 and 2024 elections proceed in a free, fair, and transparent fashion is one of our top priorities.” The party is hiring lawyers in 17 target states and is already engaged in over 30 related lawsuits, according to Reuters. But the GOP has also already spent a staggering amount of money on Donald Trump’s legal fees.

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