Liberal Operatives Launch $10M Effort For Automatic Voter Registration



A liberal group led by former Bill Clinton and Barack Obama advisers is making a multi-million dollar push for automatic voter registration.

The group, iVote, is seeking to automatically register people to vote once they hit the age of 18 in hopes of getting more Democratic-leaning demographics on the voter rolls, the founder of the group admitted.

The New York Times reports:

The change would supercharge the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the "motor voter" law, which requires states to offer people the option of registering to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses or other identification cards. The new laws would make registration automatic during those transactions unless a driver objected.

The group, called iVote — which is led by Jeremy Bird, who ran Mr. Obama’s voter turnout effort in 2012 — is betting that such laws could bring out millions of new voters who have, for whatever reason, failed to register even when they had the opportunity at motor vehicle departments.

Many of those new voters would be young, poor or minorities — groups that tend to support Democratic candidates, Mr. Bird said.

Bird, a former strategist for President Obama, is working alongside other liberal operatives on the campaign. The group contends they are making the push in order to fight back against voter identification laws enacted by Republican-dominated state legislatures in recent years.

"I do think it can be a complete game-changer," Bird said. "It’s definitely countering what we see as a very organized and well-funded effort by the Republican Party across the country to chip away at voting rights."

The group will need to ramp up fundraising efforts in order to put $10 million into the campaign. According to IRS records, iVote pulled in just $665,000 in contributions last year from a select few donors.

American Bridge, a PAC set up by Hillary Clinton loyalist and Media Matters President David Brock, gave the largest contribution in 2015 totaling $220,000 — nearly twice as much as the second largest donation. The group is additionally funded by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, which gave $100,000, and by Sen. Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) Searchlight Leadership Fund, which contributed $25,000 to the group.

Expenditures show that a majority of the $1.2 million the group spent last year, despite raising just half of that amount in 2015, largely went to media-related expenses.

The biggest beneficiary was the Chicago-based AKDP Message and Media, which was founded by former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, which received $1.1 million for services in 2015. The second largest expenditure — worth $110,000 — went to 270 Strategies, the group for which Bird is a founding partner.