Soros Group, Other Progressives Launch $59 Million Campaign Promoting Mail-in Voting


A network of deep-pocketed progressive donors is launching a $59 million effort to encourage minorities to vote by mail in November, a step many Democrats view as crucial to turning out the party’s base during the coronavirus pandemic.

A nonprofit arm of the donor network Way to Win is working with philanthropic organizations including the Ford Foundation and George Soros‘ Open Society to raise the money.

The network has already donated $50 million this cycle, which has largely gone to groups in battleground states including Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Arizona.

“We need to meet the urgency of this moment … we need everyone to keep their foot on the gas pedal,” according to Nicole Boucher, a senior adviser to the group’s nonprofit, Way to Rise.

“We’re challenging others and our partners in the sector to help fill critical funding gaps for communities of color, who have long been under-resourced in philanthropy.”

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They are in good company. Well-funded groups on both sides of the political divide have seized on the issue.

Some in the Republican party have voiced worries that mail-in ballots are more susceptible to fraud.

That includes President Donald Trump, who tweeted last month that they will lead to a rigged election.

A huge influx of mail-in ballots marked a disastrous Georgia primary last week, and Washington, D.C., saw widespread confusion over absentee votes in its own messy primary.

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Democrats, meanwhile, have argued for increased funding and broad adoption of mail-in voting.

Already a fierce battle is playing out in courts. A network of conservative organizations allied with the Federalist Society recently joined the fight.

The efforts by Way to Win will be focused more on outreach and education. Their aim is to fund organizations that already have a presence in minority communities to educate voters on ways they can cast a ballot.

Way To Win, which was founded after Trump’s 2016 victory, presents itself as a progressive alternative to established Democratic organizations.

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It is largely funded by a network of women, including Susan Pritzker, a member of a prominent Democratic family that made its fortune from Hyatt Hotels.

The group says black voters have been neglected when it comes to private philanthropy.

“It’s critical that donors and the philanthropic sector step up” and “correct a huge gap in philanthropic funding among communities of color,” Pritzker said.

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