Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

ACLU to spend $25M on down-ballot races, with a focus on abortion rights

By 37ci3 Jun5,2024



The American Civil Liberties Union will spend more than $25 million on down-ballot races across the country in this year’s election to “go on the offensive” on issues like abortion rights.

Officials with the civil liberties group said the planned investment, which was first shared with NBC News, is the largest for the election cycle.

The ACLU plans to enter a US Senate race in Wisconsin, Supreme Court races in Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and North Carolina, and several legislative races in Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

The group will also allocate money for support seeks to approve proposed ballot measures Abortion rights in state constitutions in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and New York, as well as specific redistricting reform efforts in Ohio.

The funds will also go toward numerous “volunteer deployments,” including one this November to educate voters about how to respond to the efforts of hostile poll watchers.

“This is the most money we’ve ever spent in an election cycle,” Deirdre Schifeling, who oversees the group’s political spending as the ACLU’s chief political and advocacy officer, said in an interview.

“What our team is building at the ACLU in a new way is the ability to go on the offensive. Not only to defend civil rights and civil liberties, but to go out and win civil rights and civil liberties,” Schiefeling said. “By shaping our electoral environment by communicating with voters about electing someone who will truly support civil rights and civil liberties.”

Schiefeling called the $25 million investment “groundbreaking” not only because of its size — the ACLU’s largest election investment previously was about $16 million during the 2020 cycle — but also because the group created its first federal super PAC, the ACLU Voter Education Fund. spend the funds.

“The organization is really good defensively, and now we’re developing the ability to be really good offensively as well,” Schiefeling said.

Despite its widespread recognition on civil liberties issues, the ACLU only recently began direct voter engagement. The first voter education program began in 2018, and the group has steadily increased the effort each cycle since then.

The civil liberties group is officially nonpartisan, so its efforts will focus on the issues — most notably abortion rights — and how the candidates stand on the issue. The ACLU’s initial investment will only go to down-ballot races, not the presidential race.

“We’re nonpartisan, so we don’t tell voters who to vote for, but we give them crisp, clear information about the candidates’ records,” Schiefeling said. “This cycle, we’re focused primarily on educating voters about what’s at stake in this election and the candidates’ positions on key issues — especially reproductive rights, voting rights and democracy.”

Spending will be allocated to direct mail, digital ads, radio ads and door-to-door canvassing. The group aims to build a core base of volunteers and mobilize them for door knocking and phone banking.

Schiefeling said the goal in many state legislative races will be to make sure there is a “enough civil rights, civil liberties” contingent in those states that can support or override governors’ vetoes on reproductive rights and voting bills. rights.

The ACLU will also earmark some of the money this fall for voter education efforts related to responding to hostile poll watchers and poll trackers.

These efforts include “voter advocacy” and “court-related advocacy” and are partly in response. plans RRepublican Nnational Ccommittee to build a strong poll monitoring operation ahead of the November elections.



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