Nov 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Democratic super PAC commits $25M to state-level voter registration surge

A person helping people register to vote wears pins on their hat in Mount Vernon, Virginia, on July 4, 2023. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A Democratic super PAC is pouring $25 million into voter registration efforts in key state legislative races ahead of 2024, according to a Monday announcement.

Why it matters: Democrats made historic gains during the 2022 midterm elections in state legislatures following huge investments to reverse Republicans' long-dominance in down-ballot races.

Driving the news: Forward Majority super PAC is launching the Battleground Voter Project, which plans to target state legislative battlegrounds across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

  • The super PAC has identified about two million likely Democratic and unregistered voters in legislative battlegrounds in these states who are not usually targeted in voter outreach, the group said.
  • "American democracy is in a fight for every single inch, with the most important elections decided by razor thin margins," Forward Majority founder and co-CEO Vicky Hausman said in a statement.
  • "Nowhere is that more true than in state legislatures - and Democrats have been leaving votes on the table."

Zoom in: State legislatures drew national focus in 2022 due to their broad power to influence legislation on abortion and voting rights.

  • Forward Majority, which focuses on targeted voter registration efforts and campaign programs, spent millions ahead of 2022 in races across state chambers in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona.
  • The States Project and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee also poured millions into state races.

State of play: Republicans have controlled more state legislative seats than Democrats for years, in part because the GOP made a huge push to win state legislative races ahead of the 2010 redistricting cycle and then used their control to draw favorable maps.

  • The Republican Party has historically had a fundraising edge over Democrats in state legislative races.

Between the lines: Democrats saw some success in state legislative races during the 2023 off-year election cycle, with the biggest victory in Virginia where the party gained total control of the Virginia General Assembly.

  • Virginia's legislative races drew national attention and huge fundraising totals, led by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who campaigned on a 15-week abortion ban and other conservative priorities.

What to watch: The project by the Forward Majority, which launched in 2017, seeks to register at least 200,000 voters in 2024 in the most competitive state legislative districts.

  • The super PAC says that its investment in state races could also lead to gains for Democrats in down-ballot races and the presidential contest.
  • "This will impact critical elections not just next November - but also through 2030, when there is an opportunity to shift how power is distributed in America through the redistricting process," Hausman said.

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