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Top Democratic super PAC makes voting rights a priority

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A major Democratic outside group is launching an effort to protect voting rights as President Trump calls for an investigation into his allegations of voter fraud.

Priorities USA, which raised and spent more than $190 million to boost Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential bid, announced the reorganization Wednesday night along with a merger with Every Citizen Counts.  

Priorities wants to become the “nation’s largest funder of voting rights lawsuits” at a time where Trump has claimed Clinton won the popular vote thanks to millions of illegal votes and is calling for a wide-scale investigation into the debunked claims. Critics worry his claim could lead to a crackdown on voting rights.

{mosads}”Make no mistake: Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud are a precursor to making voting even more difficult unless we fight back,” said Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA.

“We cannot wait until the eve of the next election to mount a defense against efforts aimed at suppressing voter participation. We will invest the resources needed to identify newly proposed restrictions before they gain steam, pressure state legislatures to defeat them and go to court, if necessary, to stop them from taking effect.”

Every Citizen Counts worked during the 2016 bid to help boost minority turnout for Clinton and served as the financial backing for various voting rights lawsuits in states like North Carolina. Cecil served as an advisor to the group, but until now the two were separate entities.

The new voting rights effort will be led by Marc Elias, a major Democratic election lawyer who served as Clinton’s campaign counsel. He’s been behind a large number of lawsuits seeking to protect voting rights over the past few years, including a series of lawsuits against the Trump campaign for voter intimidation.

“We had a number of successes last cycle when it came to voting rights cases, but we need to build a permanent infrastructure for combating this persistent, partisan campaign to suppress voter participation,” Elias said.

“Priorities is the natural home for that effort and has shown it will commit the resources to not just mount this fight, but to win.”

Priorities’ effort is centered on three goals: creating an online database for progressives to chart proposed voting rights changes, pushing state lawmakers to protect voting rights and providing funding for voting rights lawsuits.

Democrats have been pushing for increased protections on voting rights since the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013. The justices gutted certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including one that allowed the Justice Department to preemptively clear or strike down proposed voting rights changes in states with a history of voter suppression. 

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