MEMO: Democratic Campaign Committees Investing Millions to Protect Voting Rights Across Battleground States

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Catherine Cortez Masto, DSCC Chair, Cheri Bustos, DCCC Chairwoman
RE: Democratic Campaign Committees Investing Millions to Protect Voting Rights Across Battleground States

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have made an eight-figure investment in a legal strategy across key battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas that will take on Republicans’ decades-long voter suppression crusade and increase access to the ballot for young people, communities of color, and rural voters. This legal strategy is only more urgent as Republicans have been emboldened by President Trump’s baseless and disproven claims of voter fraud.

The DSCC and DCCC – along with the DNC, partner political organizations, state parties and local stakeholders – are pursuing these challenges to counteract arbitrary partisan advantage, end obvious voter suppression, and expand access to the ballot. We are encouraged to have already achieved changes to state voting laws and will continue to tear down barriers to Democratic victory in 2020 and beyond, and most importantly, to protect the integrity of our Democracy.

The DSCC & DCCC have engaged in three major types of litigation:

Voter Registration

In South Carolina and Texas, the DSCC and DCCC are challenging barriers to voter registration for students, voters of color and rural voters:

  • South Carolina’s requirement that prospective voters submit their full Social Security number, which requires individuals to risk identity theft in order to vote.
  • Texas’ “wet signature” requirement that severely limits the ability of citizens to register to vote, particularly impacting Texans without access to mailing facilities, or who require assistance.
  • In Michigan, the DCCC launched a challenge to voter registration laws in Michigan that disadvantage college students — resulting in an agreement that Michigan’s Secretary of State will take steps to encourage student voter registration.

Voting Issues

The DSCC and DCCC are suing to overturn laws in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Florida that have erected barriers to voting for targeted Democratic constituencies including voters of color.

  • In North Carolina, the committees successfully challenged Republicans’ decision to eliminate early voting on the final Saturday of the early voting period. Within days of filing the suit, the Republican controlled North Carolina legislature reversed course and reinstated the early voting day they previously eliminated.
    • In 2016, 193,138 voters cast ballots on the final Saturday of early voting – making it the busiest day of early voting that year. The North Carolinians who vote on this day are disproportionately African-American.
  • In Georgia, the committees are challenging the high rate of rejected ballots– a likely result of a lengthy, confusing ballot that scores low on readability. We have also targeted Georgia’s signature match process that currently allows election officials to throw out ballots for no lawful reason.
  • In Texas, the committees are challenging the state’s effective ban on mobile polling locations by requiring them to remain open for eight hours each day and stay open for the same number of days as the main early voting location in the county.
    • In Travis County in 2018, more than 28,000 people, or nearly 6 percent of voters cast their ballots at these mobile early polling sites.
    • In Dallas County, officials placed mobile polling locations on college campuses for two days in 2016 and expanded it to three days in 2018 due to popular demand.
    • In Tarrant County, 11,000 votes were cast at early voting sites in 2018, including at the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Christian University in 2020. 
  • The committees, along with the DNC are also supporting continued litigation regarding Florida’s signature matching requirement for vote by mail and provisional voters.

Ballot Order Litigation

In Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Texas, the DSCC and DCCC, along with the DNC in key instances, have challenged rules that arbitrarily dictate what order candidates are listed on the ballot. Studies have repeatedly shown that the candidate or political party consistently listed first has a “primary effect,” increasing their vote share by as much as 5 percent.

  • In response to the committees’ litigation in November, a federal judge ruled that Florida’s ballot order law was unconstitutional and provided an unfair advantage to members of the governor’s party.
  • In Arizona, the Republican candidate will be listed first in 11 of the state’s 15 counties, where that 80 percent of the state’s population lives.
  • In Georgia, the Republican candidates have been and will be listed first on all of the state’s ballots. Last election, races up and down the ballot were decided by slim margins: the governor was elected by a mere 1.39 percent; the Republican candidate for CD-7 was elected by only 0.14 percent.
  • In Minnesota, the ballot order law would place Democrats last on the ballot, below candidates from the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, the Legal Marijuana Now Party, and the Republican Party.
  • In Texas, the Republican candidates have been and will be listed first on all of the state’s ballots.

Bottom Line:
When we expand access to the ballot, it’s good for our democracy and it’s good for Democrats. As the cycle moves forward, the DSCC and DCCC will continue to work with key partners to challenge laws that restrict access to the ballot or create a partisan disadvantage for Democrats.


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