Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

First look: Reid Hoffman launches $1M ad urging election patience

Screengrab of ad that reads: "It's gonna take some time to count the votes"
Screengrab of ad

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of Democrats' biggest donors, tells Axios he's launching a $1 million digital ad campaign in battleground states urging voters to be patient with election results and prepare for no winner to be known on Nov. 3, no matter what "some people" may prematurely declare via Twitter.

Driving the news: The three-minute ad, titled "We Count! A Patriotic Musical Extravaganza," features the voice of "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons and Broadway star Barrett Doss. The spot will appear on Facebook targeting voters in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

  • "If it looks like a dumpster fire don't despair," the lyrics say.
  • "Some people might go tweet and say they know the end results, and call a winner well before they should" but "take a deep breath, chill the f***out ... it's gonna take some time to count."
  • The spot was produced by Steve Bodow, former executive producer of "The Daily Show," in partnership with The Story Network Foundation.

What he's saying: "I'm concerned that lies and conspiracy theories are undermining our collective faith in the institution of voting," Hoffman tells Axios.

  • "It seemed to me that we all needed a little reminder — about how votes get counted and why we need to let the process of democracy work."
  • "We’re reaching people in those states most likely to be targeted with politically skewed misinformation, especially the attack upon voting by mail. This project shares the truth, with a healthy dose of civic spirit and fun."

Why it matters: With record levels of early voting and mail-in ballots, it could be several days before we know who the winner of the November 3 election is.

Background: Hoffman, known for gathering mega-donors for influential sessions, tells Axios that he's informally offered advice to the Biden campaign — but he says this project isn't partisan and aims to protect voting and the legitimacy of the results.

  • Hoffman has previously clashed with the Democratic Party over his advocacy tactics and insufficient vetting of partners, Politico has reported.
  • He tells Axios he's committed to protecting "the health of our society" and engaging more Americans in politics and voting as a matter of civic responsibility.
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