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Major Democratic super PAC to spend $15M to fight voter suppression

The group will spend $5 million on digital ads and $10 million on litigation to fight policies it says unfairly target Black and brown voters in seven battleground states.
Georgia Holds 2022 Primary Election
People vote in the Georgia primary at the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta on May 24.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

A top Democratic super PAC is launching a multi-million dollar campaign in seven battleground states to fight back against policies the group says disenfranchise Black and brown voters.

The group, Priorities USA, will spend $5 million on digital ads that seek to directly reach minority voters in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada and help those voters navigate complicated or cumbersome election laws.

Priorities USA is also spending $10 million on voter protection litigation in existing cases the group says will help defend voting rights in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan and New Hampshire.

The group shared news of the ad buy and litigation expenditure with NBC News first. The group will publicly announce the news later Monday.

“We hope these ads help Black and brown voters navigate how to make sure they can vote,” Aneesa McMillan, the group’s deputy executive director, said in an interview. “That includes things like reminding them to check their registration and to be prepared with everything they might need.”

The campaign is part of Priorities USA's previously announced $20 million investment in voting rights initiatives, which includes direct voter contact and litigation. 

A series of 15-second and banner ads are slated to run across Google and Facebook starting in early October, McMillan said. They aim to target Black, Latino, young and low-income voters and will direct them to other websites and hotlines that can help them find their polling locations, remind them of any materials they must have on them to vote and of their specific rights at the voting booth, she said.

One ad directs voters to a hotline that can help them understand whether and how they can vote by mail in their state. Another spot directs voters to a hotline that can walk them through the processes of knowing whether they’re registered to vote and how and where to vote.

Meanwhile, Priorities USA said the litigation it would spend money on includes cases in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Georgia, Nevada and Michigan.

In Pennsylvania, the group said it would support a suit to fight efforts by a group formed by several Trump administration officials that have been accused of attempting to restrict access to ballot drop boxes in Lehigh County. Restrictions proposed by the group include limiting drop box availability to business hours and requiring them to be monitored in person.

In Arizona, the group said it was devoting more resources to its challenge of a state law it claims criminalizes volunteers and organizations who provide voting assistance to individuals registered in another state. The law, Senate Bill 1260, makes it a felony to knowingly help a resident of the state register to vote in the state when that person is already registered in a different state.

Included in the expenditure are also additional resources for an existing suit by the group against Georgia. Priorities USA is part of a group of plaintiffs that have alleged that a new provision included in the state’s sweeping election package from 2021 requiring absentee ballot applications to be physically printed out and signed with “pen and ink" unfairly targets voters of color and elderly voters.

“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,” McMillan, the group’s deputy executive director, said in a statement.

“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," she added.