The chair of the Michigan Democratic Party accused Republicans of “voter suppression” after the Republican National Committee announced a $10 million effort to defend current election laws.
Some of the money will be used to defend Michigan election laws against three legal challenges leveled by Priorities USA, a left-wing super PAC. The group filed three lawsuits against the state last year, challenging Michigan’s absentee ballot laws, bans on paid busing to the polls and ballot harvesting, restrictions on same-day voter registration, and documentation requirements.
Priorities USA was started in 2011 by former campaign officials for President Barack Obama with the goal of helping him win reelection in 2012. The group acted as Hillary Clinton’s main fundraising super PAC in the 2016 election, spending nearly $191 million.
The group launched its Michigan chapter, called Priorities Michigan, in July 2019 as part of a $100 million investment ahead of the 2020 election. The super PAC spent more money than any other PAC during the 2016 election, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The PAC now has chapters in other key battleground states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The RNC and the Michigan Republican Party filed a motion to intervene Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and requested that they be named as defendants in the lawsuits brought by Priorities USA.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to Politico that Priorities USA and their Democratic allies are “trying to rig the game with frivolous lawsuits that do nothing but create electoral chaos, waste taxpayer money, and district election officials in an attempt to advance the Democrats’ voter suppression myth because they know they can’t beat President Trump at the ballot box.”
“These actions are dangerous, and we will not stand idly by while Democrats try to sue their way to victory in 2020,” she said.
During a Saturday voting rights event, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes called the $10 million investment a “voter suppression fund.”
“Donald Trump and the Republican party are doing everything they can to suppress the vote and silence Michiganders’ voices for their own political gain,” she said in a statement. “The Republican Party claimed the fight for voting rights is ‘rigging the game.’ Well I say, when you deny communities a voice in our political process, that’s rigging the game. When you fight to keep laws that disproportionately deny black and brown voters access to the ballot, that’s ‘rigging the game.’”
“The Michigan Democratic Party is making investments in organizing and voter protection early in this cycle,” she continued. “We have a team of professionally trained staff, and over a thousand volunteers throughout the state, dedicated to getting Michiganders registered and voting, and fighting voter suppression tactics wherever we see them.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavorna Barnes” by Lavorna Barnes.