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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.

Go deeper

How racial politics still suppress the vote

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jeremy Hogan (SOPA Image), Noam Galai (WireImage)/Getty Images

Laws restricting voting are less overt than in the days of segregation. But many impediments — some subtle, some blatant — remain for Americans of color.

The big picture: That's changing at this very moment — slowly, and very unevenly.

Restoring the vote to Americans with felony records

Expand chart
Data: The Sentencing Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Mass incarceration has fueled Black voter disenfranchisement for decades in the U.S.

Why it matters: More than 5 million Americans are unable to vote because of a felony record, and they are disproportionately Black. The fight to undo felon disenfranchisement laws is gaining ground and could radically shift the political landscape. But progress is also fueling opposition.

Nov 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Spotting political indicators without the polls

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With political polls looking close to useless, newsrooms are increasingly turning to internet trends, demographics and local news in an effort to crack America’s baffling political code.

Why it matters: This election proved that polls aren't the only way to measure public opinion trends — and that other measures, like social media, may give us a window into enthusiasm among populations that polls are missing.

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